Call Me By Your Name review

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By Sarah Mafroud and Hiba Sohail, staff writers

Call Me By Your Name is undoubtedly the movie of the year. Based on André Aciman’s 2007 novel of the same name, this film was released limitedly in NYC.The worldwide release is in January, and as of the moment, the Paris Theater and Regal Cinema Union Square 14 are amongst the very few in New York City offering screenings. As we stood outside The Paris Theater at 10 AM waiting to be admitted, we were surprised to find a long line already forming for this larger than life debut.

The movie, starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer, is being dubbed a “romantic marvel,” and it has been proven to be true.  

Set in the director, Luca Guadagnino’s, own little town in Italy’s countryside, the movie’s aesthetic is breathtaking. The characters lived on a beautiful vineyard surrounded by nature. The exquisite architecture paired with sparkling lakes and blooming fields gave the movie a calm and relaxed feel. Overall, the color palette used was vibrant, resulting in each shot being magnificent.

This story of self actualization, rather than sexual exploration, follows a boy named Elio and his family’s summers of hosting a foreign exchange grad student each year in their Italian villa. This year, the student is Oliver, an American. Elio is wary of Oliver but begins a reluctant friendship with him, offering to show him around for the sake of their shared Jewish heritage.

Elio, with stolen glances, slowly realizes that his hatred for this man who took over his bedroom for the summer, has turned into intense infatuation. The feelings are thought to be one-sided to Elio but through subtle hints the audience is aware that Oliver feels the same.

The moment in which they both come together is a sigh of relief. From there, begins a journey of love and sexuality. The hushed undertone of sexuality is a delight to watch as it unravels, it is not the main point of the movie, and neither is it brushed over.

The most disappointing part of the movie, however, was Oliver’s departure. As opposed to being a grand and dramatic moment, the entire thing was anticlimactic. We expected him to slip away from Elio in the middle of the night, as opposed to having Elio see him off at the train station. Oliver’s actions after he returns to America leave a lot to be desired as well. Calling Elio to let him know that he got engaged was not the best move on his part. Even though it was unrealistic to think Oliver would remain in Italy after completing his academic paper, it still felt like he betrayed Elio.

The end credits scene deserves an entire awards season on its own. The scene is a sharp contrast to the brightness of the movie. It takes place a few months after, and there is dim light, with snow clouding the sky. The villa, normally bustling with happiness is mute, and after that devastating phone call, all we see is Elio. Sitting alone, by the fireplace, he tries and fails to stop the tears of a man betrayed by his first love. As the credits roll on the side, it is impossible to tear your eyes away from Elio’s face and not have your heart ache for him.

Armie Hammer outdid himself with his tremendous acting and Timothée Chalamet made an extremely promising debut. But what really stood out to us was the acting of Elio’s parents, played by Michael Stuhlbarg and Amira Casar. They accepted Elio and loved him unconditionally, as parents should.They were the epitome of a graceful couple, trying to raise their son in a non-perfect world.

We sat in the seats of the Paris Theater silently with tears streaming down our faces, the ending credits playing silently in the background. As people trickled out of the theater, I knew there was one thing we agreed on. No one should pass on going to When Call Me By Your Name’s worldwide release in January.

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