Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the NY Times ScreenTalk series with the cast of Call Me By Your Name, a film that has been making the festival rounds since Sundance ‘17 and is now, finally, about to make its wide release. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is one of, if not the, most beautiful film I have ever seen. If I could afford it, I would buy everyone I know tickets to see this movie just to ensure that no one I care about misses it. It’s THAT good, and I’ve already seen it twice.
Set in Northern Italy in the Summer of 1983, Call Me By Your Name tells the story of 17-year-old charming, multilingual, and flirtatious Elio Pearlman (Timothee Chalamet’s breakout role – mark my words) and 24-year-old academic Oliver (Armie Hammer), visiting for the summer, who fall in love. Their relationship develops slowly, but fiercely, over the 2 hour and 15-minute movie and leaves you with an ache so deep in your chest you might find yourself still crying two hours after the credits roll… which I definitely don’t know from personal experience.
One of the things that make this film so extraordinary is that it’s truly, and simply, about love. Maybe it’s that I’ve seen a limited amount of same-sex relationships featured in a film, but this is the first time I’ve seen one that doesn’t become the catalyst for a conflict. There’s no wife that one of the men has to come out to; no inherent shame of loving another man that a character has to overcome; no choice between their partner and their family. Quite simply, no one is punished for feeling, exploring, or pursuing this connection. The conflict is universal and unrelated to gender or sex; it’s simply bad timing to blame for prohibiting this relationship from fully prospering. One of my favorite things about this movie is the way that Luca Guadagnino (director) and James Ivory (screenwriter) let this story unfold; they never rush it. By taking their time in letting this relationship develop, they are somehow able to recreate and express real emotion throughout the entirety of the movie which creates a truly immersive experience. Throughout, there are senses of anticipation, anxiety, and magnetism that are so palpable it transcends the screen into your own veins, completely engaging you with this world they’ve managed to create.
Following the screening, the cast and director took to the stage to dissect the film in a moving and candid conversation with the audience. They touched on everything from the awkwardness of dance scenes to the role their relationships with their own father’s shaped their characters in this film. Perhaps it was the intimacy of the film or the genuine love you can feel between the cast, but having attended many post-screening panels in my time, this talk felt different and uniting in a way I hadn’t experienced before. You can catch the entire discussion below!
Call Me By Your Name comes out on 11/24 in LA and NYC and then rolls out nationwide as the year wraps up. Do not miss this front-runner for best picture!
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Why ‘Call Me By Your Name’ Deserves Best Picture: Featured image courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics