The Ethics Of Call Me By Your Name’s Age

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Luca Guadagnino’s films are all about the transformative sầu power of nature—the way it allows our true selves to shine through & inspires us lớn pursue our hidden passions. From the wild, windswept hills of “I Am Love” lớn the chic swimming pool of “A Bigger Splash,” Guadagnino vividly portrays the outside world as almost a character in itself—driving the storyline, urging the other characters khổng lồ be bold, inviting us to feel as if we, too, are a part of this intoxicating atmosphere.

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Never has this been more true than in “Gọi Me By Your Name,” a lush and vibrant masterpiece about first love set amid the warm, sunny skies, gentle breezes and charming, tree-lined roads of northern Italy. Guadagnino takes his time establishing this place & the players within it. He’s patient in his pacing, và you must be, as well. But really, what’s the rush? It’s the summer of 1983, và there’s nothing to do but read, play piano, ponder classic art và pluông chồng peaches & apricots from the abundant fruit trees.


Within this garden of sensual delights, an unexpected yet life-changing romance blossoms between two young men who initially seem completely different on the surface.

17-year-old Elio (Timothee Chalamet) is once again visiting his family’s summer trang chính with his parents: his father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an esteemed professor of Greco-Roman culture, and his mother (Amira Casar), a translator and gracious hostess. Elio has the gangly body of a boy but with an intellect and a quichồng wit beyond his years, & the worldliness his parents have fostered within hlặng at least allows hlặng to lớn affect the façade of sophistication. But beneath the bravado, a gawky và self-conscious kid sometimes still emerges. By the end of the summer, that kid will be vanquished forever.

An American doctoral student named Oliver (Armie Hammer) arrives for the annual internship Elio’s father offers. Oliver is everything Elio isn’t—or at least, that’s our primary perception of him. Tall, gorgeous & supremely confident, he is the archetypal all-American hunk. But as polite as he often can be, Oliver can also breeze out of a room with a glib, “Later,” making hyên even more of a tantalizing mystery.

Chalamet & Hammer have just ridiculous chemistry from the get-go, even though (or perhaps because) their characters are initially prickly toward each other: testing, pushing, feeling each other out, yet constantly worrying about what the other person thinks. They flirt by trying khổng lồ one-up each other with knowledge of literature or classical music, but long before they ever have any physical tương tác, their electric connection is unmistakable. Lazy poolside chats are fraught with tension; spontaneous xe đạp rides into town to lớn run errands feel like nervous first dates.

Writer James Ivory’s generous, sensitive adaptation of Andre Aciman’s novel reveals these characters và their ever-evolving dynamic in beautifully steady yet detailed fashion. And so when Elio và Oliver finally dare to reveal their true feelings for each other—a full hour into lớn the film—the moment makes you hold your breath with its intimate power, & the emotions feel completely authentic & earned.

The way Elio and Oliver peel away each other’s layers has both a sweetness & a giddy thrill to lớn it, even though they feel they must keep their romance a secret from Elio’s parents. (Elio also has a kinda-sorta girlfrikết thúc in Marzia , a thoughtful, playful French teen who’s also in town for the summer.) One of the many impressive sầu elements of Chalamet’s beautiful, complex performance is the effortless way he transitions between speaking in English, Italian & French, depending on whom Elio is with at the time. It gives hyên an air of maturity that’s otherwise still in development; eventually his massive character arc feels satisfying and true.

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But Oliver’s evolution is just as crucial, và Hammer finds the tricky balance between the character’s swagger and his vulnerability as he gives himself over to this exciting affair. He’s flirty but tender—the couple’s love sầu scenes are heartbreaking and intensely erotic all at once—and even though he’s the more experienced of the two, he can’t help but diving in headlong.

And yet, the most resonant part of “Hotline Me By Your Name” may not even be the romance itself, but rather the lingering sensation that it can’t last, which Guadagnino evokes through long takes & expert use of silence. A feeling of melancholy tinges everything, from the choice of a particular shirt to the taste of a perfectly ripe peach. And oh my, that peach scene—Guadagnino was wise when he took a chance và left it in from the novel. It really works, & it’s perhaps the ultimate example of how masterfully the director manipulates và enlivens all of our senses.

There’s a lushness to the visual beauty of this place, but it’s not so perfect as to be off-putting. Quite the opposite. Despite the director’s infamous eye for meticulous detail, cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s 35mm images provide a tactile unique that heightens the sensations, makes them feel almost primal. We see the wind gently rustling through the trees, or streaks of sunlight hitting Elio’s dark curls through an open bedroom window, và while it’s all subtly sensual, an inescapable tension is building underneath.

Guadagnino establishes that raw, immediate energy from the very beginning through his use of music. The piano of contemporary classical composer John Adams’ intricate, insistent “Hallelujah Junction – 1st Movement” engages us during the elegant title sequence, while Sufjan Stevens’ plaintive sầu, synthy “Visions of Gideon” during the film’s devastating final shot ends the film on an agonizingly sad note. (You’ll want lớn stay all the way through the closing credits—that long, last image is so transfixing. I seriously don’t know how Chalamet pulled it off, but there is serious craft on display here.)


In between is Guadagnino’s inspired use of the Psychedelic Furs’ “Love sầu My Way,” an iconic ’80s New Wave sầu tune you’ve sầu probably heard a million times before but will never hear the same way again. The first time he plays it, it’s at an outdoor disteo where Oliver feels so moved by the bouncy, percussive sầu beat that he can’t help but jump around to lớn it and get lost in the music, lacking all sense of self-consciousness. Watching this towering figure just go for it on the dance floor in his Converse high-tops is a moment of pure joy, but it’s also as if a dam has broken within Elio, being so cthua thảm to someone who’s feeling so không tính phí. The second time he plays it, toward the over of Oliver and Elio’s journey, it feels like the soundtraông chồng lớn a time capsule as it recaptures a moment of seemingly endless emotional possibility.

They know what they’ve sầu found has lớn end—we know it has to lớn end. But a beautiful monologue from the always excellent Stuhlbarg as Elio’s warmhearted and open-minded father softens the blow somewhat. It’s a perfectly calibrated scene in a film full of them, & it’s one of a million reasons why “Điện thoại tư vấn Me By Your Name” is far and away the best movie of the year.

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Christy Lemire

Christy Lemire is a longtime film critic who has written for pntechcons.com.vn since 2013. Before that, she was the film critic for The Associated Press for nearly 15 years và co-hosted the public television series "Ebert Presents At the Movies" opposite Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, with Roger Ebert serving as managing editor. Read her answers lớn our Movie Love Questionnaire here.