A beautiful and mesmerizing love story
Call Me by Your Name (2017): In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father's research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape.
I love this movie. Simply put, it is spectacular. It is gorgeous in every sense of the word: it features breathtaking cinematography and production design, wonderful dialogue, fantastic colors, and beautiful chemistry between its leads, Armie Hammer (as Oliver) and Timothée Chalamet. (As Elio) Every second of this 132 minute film had me completely entranced. I love it when a film sucks me into its world entirely, and no film has done that better than this in 2017. The hype is real, guys. Call Me by Your Name does have a few faults, but overall it is one of the strongest and most engaging films of 2017, and it's well worth your time.
There isn't much that I didn't like here, but that's where I'll start. This film reminded me of 20th Century Women in a lot of ways. I felt a similar style of dialogue between the films, as well as ties between actor Michael Stuhlbarg (who plays Elio's father) and Annette Bening's portrayal as Dorothea Fields, (the mother in 20th Century Women) and similarities in the editing. 2 of the 3 of these I don't have a problem with. (Stuhlbarg is spectacular as the father) But, like in 20th Century Women, director Luca Guadognino employees the rainbow editing style a few times, and I'm still just not a fan of that. It takes me out of the moment, and I haven't been able to fully comprehend and appreciate why it's utilized since I first saw it in 2016. Someone REALLY needs to explain this to me! It's part of a filmmaking style I think, but it's tough (for me, at least) to identify the style while it's being developed. There's also some issues with the pacing. Shots will linger for just a hair too long, and the film does choose to focus on a few things that seem, well, less-than-important. I think the length of the movie is just right, but it's about 10 minutes too long in the second act then 10 minutes too short in the third. However, the rest of the film is fan-freaking-tastic. Almost as fantastic as this gif of Armie Hammer dancing, which is applicable in literally EVERY situation. Peace in the Middle East? Well, it's funny that you should ask.....
I'll be honest with you: I could stare at that gif allllllllll day. (I even have a shirt of it which I maaaay or may not be wearing right now as I type up this review) Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, though. They are the best things about this film. I've been a huge fan of Hammer's since he played the "Winklevii" in 2010's The Social Network, but it took until 2017 for him to finally show us what he could do. Equally as impressive is (relative) newcommer Timothée Chalamet. I hadn't seen this kid in anything before 2017, but all it took was his complex performance in Lady Bird and this to convince me that he's a star. Both Hammer and Chalamet are marvelous together. They have great chemistry, and their story arc is simply beautiful. These are very demanding roles that they have to play, and honestly it looks like they could do them in their sleep. It was wonderful. The supporting cast is small, but the one member that really stands out is Michael Stuhlbarg. He plays this whimsical, pragmatic, and wise character that almost steals the show for me. His heart-wrenching monologue to his son at the end of the film may very well be my single favorite movie moment of 2017. It alone is worth the price of admission.
As if the superb acting wasn't enough, this film is also GORGEOUS to look at. Filmed on location in northern Italy, (aka one of the most romantic spots in the world) this movie utilizes its landscape, its time period, (early 80s) and its production design to a mesmerizing degree. Look at that picture at the top of this review. Look at all the colors used on the set. The color of the costumes. Every decision here from director Luca Guadagnino was meticulous and a spectacular one The cinematography was terrific too and told the story of these characters in their own right. Kudos to Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, as this is some of the best cinematography I saw in 2017. And, finally, there's the soundtrack. "This is Me" from The Greatest Showman may be getting all the Oscar buzz for original song, but if you want a FAR better song about being different and still trying to be yourself while falling in love.....look no further than this film's major original song, "Mystery of Love." Sufjan Stevens delivers not just the best song I've heard in film in 2017, but one of the best songs I've heard all year, period. He has two other original songs here, and all of them are, like the rest of this film, mesmerizing. There are a lot of other great songs used here, too. After all..... any film that makes The Psychedelic Furs an integral part of its story is going to be good. It's impossible for it to not be!
While this film does fall just short of perfection thanks to those rainbow edits and the (slightly) muddy pacing, it doesn't change the fact that this will end up being one of the best films of 2017 and well worth your time to see this intimate, heartwarming, earth-shattering love story. Put it on the list, for sure. Now, excuse me while I go stare at that gif of Armie Hammer dancing for just a little while longer....
The Critique: Full of joy and heartbreak, Call Me by Your Name is one of 2017's best films and features dynamic performances from its male leads.
The Recommendation: May not be for everyone out there but I think this is an absolute must-see
The Verdict: 9/10 Awesome.
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