by Hogan Short
VANCOUVER – Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name is about seventeen year old Elio (Timothée Chalamet, Homeland) who lazily spends his days casually transcribing music, or meandering through the sun drenched Italian countryside. Elio’s simple life becomes complicated when his father/professor’s American research assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer, The Social Network) arrives. Oliver is effortlessly charming and, for unknown reasons, appears to be a thorn in Elio’s side. This strange animosity exists because of how Oliver makes Elio feel. Elio is in love with Oliver and this tension exists because true love creates something impossible to explain. This patiently crafted, slow burning film perfectly captures the essence of a summer love, to beautiful and cinematic effect.
Call Me by Your Name’s ability to expertly balance its narrative with complex themes and characters is first shown when Oliver has a conversation with the professor about the origin of the word “apricot”. This one scene shows Oliver’s confidence and charm and Elio’s unsuccessful resistance to it. The professor educates the room on how the word “apricot” came to be known as it is today. This exemplifies the father’s brilliance and his excitement for knowledge. We see them being served fresh apricot juice by the mother of the house, an example of their family dynamic and their wealth. Oliver then brilliantly tells the professor that normally his logic would be correct but in the instance of the word “apricot” he is mistaken. He proceeds to brilliantly dissect the true origin of the word for this particular fruit. This is a window for the audience to see Oliver as Elio does, infatuating and impressive. Elio cannot help contain his excitement over Oliver and we understand why he feels it. When the professor wryly smiles and anoints Oliver, we see that Oliver is different than the assistants that have come before him. Call Me by Your Name is built on those subtleties making this such an unforgettable and ethereal story of love.
“Nature has cunning ways of finding our weakest spot” is a line of wisdom spoken to Elio from his father in one of many tragically beautiful scenes. Call Me by Your Name has its own cunning ways of finding our weakest spots.
Call Me By Your Name opens November 24