‘Call Me By Your Name’ examines young love

Brian Lang

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name (2017)

One of the more controversial movies of this year’s Oscar picks is Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name.”

Set in the Italian countryside in 1983, “Call Me By Your Name” tells the story of Elio, a Jewish, American-Italian 17-year-old (Timothée Chalamet) as he falls in love with his father’s research assistant Oliver (Armie Hammer).

Although this movie focuses on a homosexual couple, it is very relatable to all audiences. It’s about first love, awakening and heartbreak, things that nearly everyone can relate to. It’s combination of beautiful storytelling and progressive subject matter creates something extraordinary, even if I can’t quite put my finger on it.

The romance between Elio and Oliver is slow to bloom. Neither one is willing to reach out first, but after several scenes filled with coded actions, Elio comes forward. Just as he suspected, Oliver is more than just a friend.

Elio’s parents silently watch all of these events unfold. Their son is trying to sort himself out, but they’re always present when he needs them.

Michael Stuhlbarg, playing Elio’s father, gives an especially touching monologue at the end of the film. He tells Elio that he is there for him, that he accepts him. He advises Elio not to bury the heartache he is feeling, but to experience it because if we try to bury all of our negative emotions, eventually we’ll have no emotions left to experience.

The film feels like a dream you’d have while sleeping outside on a hot summer day. The color palette is saturated with bright yellows, sparkling blues, and vibrant greens, resembling the memory of an oasis.

The music also contributes to this dreaminess. A mix between modern classical and works by the phenomenal Sufjan Stevens, the soundtrack adds a peaceful feel to the scenes.

“Call Me By Your Name” does what most movies focusing on homosexual couples don’t: it doesn’t ever try to stop the relationship. There is no disapproving parent or societal pressure to hide. It is simply the story of two men experiencing a summer fling and learning how to handle the heartbreak of lost love.

Although Elio is intellectually precocious, he doesn’t understand love. He doesn’t understand that it can be passing, that people can move on, and that eventually, heartbreak will cease.

We get to watch him completely fall in love and see the searing heartache as Elio struggles to come to terms with the events of the summer. Their relationship, like the summer, must at some point come to an end.

Many may avoid this indie film for its flagrant sexual content, which is understandable. However, if you are willing to look at more than just one element, you’ll see a beautiful film that explores emotions and experiences that are very relatable.

Besides making me want to book a trip to Italy as soon as possible, “Call Me By Your Name” left me awestruck by its beauty and its poignant look at young love.

Rating: 8/10