“Call Me By Your Name” is the art of film at its highest level.
This movie, set in Italy during the early 80s, follows the 17-year-old character Elio (Timothee Chalamet). Soon after the movie starts, Elio meets Oliver (Armie Hammer), a college student who’s come to work as an assistant for Ellio’s father, who works as an archaeology professor.
What follows is a beautiful story about youth, love and figuring out who you are.
“Your Name” is a well-crafted masterpiece for many reasons, one of them being the love story that ultimately develops between Elio and Oliver. The film takes its time with setting up their relationship, especially by giving crucial development to Elio.
It details in full his confliction when it comes to his sexuality and his growing affection toward Oliver. The development of Elio’s character, and subsequently his relationship with Oliver, unfolds exceptionally well, as it captures the spirit of youth and does so in an intimate way.
That initial praise falls short, though, in also giving credit toward the film for how it handles Oliver. While the spotlight is mostly on Elio, essential time is also given to dig into who Oliver is.
Rounding out the film’s story is a cast of characters whom the leads interact with. In doing so, the film becomes more than just a romantic tale and becomes a splendid slice of life picture, too.
Another reason why “Call Me” works so well was because of its award-caliber acting. First and foremost, Chalamet gives a stunning performance as Elio. Every line of dialogue as well as facial expression he gives is filled with meaning, and it hooks viewers in. His portrayal of affection in a new relationship is very real, displaying both awkwardness and passion to the new feelings his character experiences.
Hammer, meanwhile, gives the best performance of his career so far. His acting allows the audience to know that he understands where Elio is coming from and its apparent through the portrayal that Oliver is considering the same type of relationship that Elio is. It’s also noteworthy that the two leading performers have wonderful on-screen chemistry, as everything from their simple conversations to their love feels real.
Just as important to the lead actors were the performers portraying Elio’s parents. Both Michael Stuhlbarg and Amira Casar give their characters very honest and grounded personalities. Both of the performers are convincing as Elio’s caring parents. Stuhlbarg is especially memorable as Elio’s father for a scene that he has with Chalamet’s character late in the third act.
As if being well acted and well written (thanks to the screenplay by James Ivory), wasn’t enough, “Your Name” also boasts gorgeous cinematography. The beauty of rural northern Italy is captured so well by the camera, everything from a quaint village to open landscapes look exquisite on screen and capture the viewer’s attention just as much as the story and characters do.
The movie also features wonderful music that fits every scene perfectly for a complete cinematic experience.
Flaws are hard to come by when looking back at this picture. Maybe the film went on a bit too long, but that’s such a minor nitpick. This is a fantastic film, worthy of any accolades it will likely receive this award season. 5 out of 5.