There is little that seventeen year old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) doesn’t know about, as Oliver (Arnie Hammer), a much older American graduate student who has arrived to spend the summer of ’83 in Italy, amusedly discovers. Elio takes upon himself the task of showing an all too independent Oliver around, and as the summer wears on, the two men find themselves falling inseparably in love.
Luca Guadagnino’s poetic take on the tale of a young boy who discovers what it means to be lost in the ecstatic throes of love, only to be devastated by an irreparable sense of loss that leaves him in shreds, is one of the finest romances, queer or otherwise, to have emerged on screen during the last few years.
This however is a coming of age tale, not just for the teenager, but for the much older man as well, who finds himself smitten by the boy’s charms. The imminent tragedy that time is bound to bring in its wake looms large over the bright sunlit skies and as Oliver waves the final good bye, neither of them would be the same again.
The two actors complement each other delightfully well, and while it would be hard to pick out a favorite from the two, Chalamet’s vulnerability draws him closer to you, than perhaps the older Hammer does. And yet, there are scenes where Hammer simply blows you away, with his sharply defined performance.
‘Call Me by Your Name’ has been exceptionally well captured on the camera (Sayombhu Mukdeeprom) and would perhaps be discussed more as a tale of raw, unsullied love than as a treatise on sexuality. Brimming with real emotions, it is a moving, intensely sensual film that works on multiple levels and sets your enraptured senses merrily loose.
Verdict: Delightful Romance