a CALL ME BY YOUR NAME musing
After appearances in HOSTILES and LADY BIRD, Timothée Chalamet continues his 2017 rise by wonderfully leading CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. Set in 1983, the father of Elio (Chalamet), a late teen, hosts a graduate student, Oliver, played by Armie Hammer, in an elegant estate in northern Italy. Soon after Oliver’s arrival, he and Elio begin a relationship. Never pulling any punches in its content, CALL ME has more interest in showing their lust, rather than its characters.
Chalamet and Hammer are absolutely incredible with what they are given to work with. Their characters, Elio and Oliver, respectively, are intellectuals, and we see how they are drawn to each other in the early stages of their relationship. It’s a beautiful, interesting dynamic, but once the levee breaks, the two men are inseparable. I’d expect people so attracted to each other (not just physically) to talk about things, rather than just have sex all the time. It’s as if it’s just meant for shock value. I’m fine with this story not having an outright antagonist, someone focused on keeping the two apart, but a little bit more character development would have been appreciated.
Barring that main problem I had, the movie is just fine. It’s shot beautifully, but there are a lot of cliché indie-movie shots scattered throughout. The score is one of my favorites of the year, minus the random indie songs placed at the weirdest moments. It really picked up at the end for me, with the wonderful Michael Stuhlbarg, playing Elio’s father, delivering an incredibly powerful speech to Elio. If only the director had more interest in these kinds of relationships, instead of the empty sexuality on screen, this movie would have hit harder for me.
RATING: DIDN’T WASTE MY TIME
(Refer to my rating system HERE!)