Call Me By Your Name is available to rent or buy now.
Faithfully adapted from Andre Aciman’s 2017 novel of the same name, Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name is not only one of the finest coming of age films of a generation but one of the most important in LGBTQ+ cinema. But how did a small budget film with a relatively unknown young lead actor so firmly embed itself in the public consciousness? The answer to this question is multi-layered, but in part, it sits within Call Me By Your Name’s ability to transcend genre boundaries. By dovetailing a rich portrait of young gay love, desire and infatuation with a more traditional coming of age picture, Call Me By Your Name speaks to us all regardless of our sexuality or gender.
Set in Northern Italy during the early 1980s, Call Me By Your Name plays with themes of memory, desire and first love in its cinematography and narrative. Here, Guadagnino bathes Elio’s story in an ocean of dream-like green, blue and yellow. The colours of nature and imagination, colliding with the intensity of early sexuality and desire, in a story that plays out like a sensual yet equally painful memory. The emotion of first love, exposed as we relive our tender experiences of teenage desire through Elio’s eyes. Here the initial sparks of sexuality that gave flight to our adult journey in all its excitement, heat and hurt shine on-screen through Chalamet’s stunning performance. This dreamy aesthetic is surrounded by the forbidden yet ripe fruits of nature in a symbolic garden of Eden for Elio’s innermost desires.
Guadagnino’s film taps into the inner teenager that dwells in our subconscious. The experiences that formed us all as adults brought up to the surface of our memories over two hours. Here Guadagnino’s delicate tapestry of memory and desire explores the complexity of the emotions and actions surrounding teenage passion and discovery. However, while some films choose to paint a picture of innocence and naivety during our first sexual encounters, Call Me By Your Name is far more realistic in its approach to adolescent desire. Here the sheer intensity of teenage lust is wrapped in both jealously, calculated passion and vulnerability. This complex portrait undoubtedly offers one of the most complex coming-of-age pictures of the past twenty years; however, it would not have been possible without the performance of one Timothee Chalamet.
Chalamet’s outstanding performance is wrapped in emotion and emerging self-identity. Each look, action and interaction layered with youthful charm, deep insecurity and urgent desire. Here Chalamet brings Elio to life on screen through the boy’s innermost feelings and thoughts while embracing the delicate nature of sexual discovery, jealousy and vulnerability. Chalamet’s performance isn’t just one of the most stunning depictions of sexual exploration and emerging identity brought to the screen; it’s what makes Call Me By Your Name a rare cinematic masterpiece.
TIMOTHEE CHALAMET, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, 2017
Director: Luca Guadagnino