Call Me By Your Name Review

Call Me By Your Name was added to Netflix this week and this seemed the perfect opportunity to remove it from the ever-growing watchlist. Slight spoilers, considering this has been out for some time now.

When considering the plot of a 17 year-old-boy discovering his sexuality through the frame of a summer fling, the simplicity of the films premise allows for the characters and situations to do most of the heavy lifting. Never are we tasked with over complicated storylines or overburdened with character exposition. Rather than being constantly caught up in their own lives, these characters are almost in a state of limbo, as the summer passes by.

As the central couple, Elio and Oliver progress their relationship, we are subject to the awkward and tormented mind of a teenager. A conflicted mind that neither knows what he wants or who he wants to be. Even as some actions are questionable, from the placing of Oliver’s boxers over his head, to an interesting scene involving an apricot, we get the sense that Elio too does not really know why he is doing these things.

We are treated to some excellent performances, particularly from Timothée Chalamet, who excellently balances cool, gawky and on the brink of chaos. The film itself can flick between pretentious and artistic. With one moment we are subjected to someone sitting sadly as melancholic music plays, and the other watching the thought process and emotions running through someone’s face.  

Similar to that process of thought and emotion, as the final shot fades, we are left with an amalgamation of happiness and sadness. One of the central themes of self-acceptance, has the instance to be heart-warming and heart-breaking. However, these emotions did not suffice to an excellent viewing, as the film takes a while to warm up. Whether this was planned is another thing, as the first act primarily revolves around leading situations – a sort of “will they, won’t they?”, despite the viewers knowing they definitely will.

Call Me By Your Name is an interesting film, and a prime example of how to show an audience rather than tell them. Depending on your susceptibility, it may leave you emotionally reminiscing over its ending. However, ultimately for us, it lingered for too long in the start and left a level of disconnect.  

Published by Aaron Bayne

I’m a film and video games journalist based in Scotland. I write stuff about them on my website, talk about them on my podcasts and film videos about them for BBC The Social.

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