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Call Me By Your Name is a coming-of-age film directed by Luca Guadagnino and it is the third and final instalment in Guadagnino’s ‘Desire’ trilogy. The film stars Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, Victoire Du Bois, Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. Call Me By Your Name takes place in the summer of 1983 and the story focuses on a budding romantic relationship between Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer). Oliver is an American who is assisting Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg) with his work on an archaeological site in Italy.
My Knowledge and Expectation of Call Me By Your Name
I have known about this film ever since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival back in January. Even then, it was touted as a film that could do well when it comes to award recognition. We have indeed seen this play out in the last couple of weeks. For instance, Call Me By Your Name has garnered nominations at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. The film has also won awards from the National Board of Review and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
A lot of the praise towards Call Me By Your Name has been focused on the performances, particularly in relation to Timothée Chalamet. Certainly, after nominations and wins for Best Actor from various film institutions, it seemed nailed on that an Oscar nomination would follow suit for Chalamet. Nevertheless, I did my best not to let the hype raise my expectations for this film to an unattainable level. But, I still went into Call Me By Your Name excited to hopefully see an emotionally moving film.
My Thoughts on Call Me By Your Name
Overall, I liked Call Me By Your Name. Yet, I do not have the same love for it as a lot of other people do. I will get to the reason why I feel this way shortly. But, I want to shower deserved praise on the qualities of this film. Firstly, the cinematography of Call Me By Your Name is fantastic. Every shot was stylish, expertly crafted and artistic and, consequently, the film felt like a painting in motion.
Clearly, the lush setting of Italy helped in this regard but it was a beautiful film to look at regardless. Moreover, the visual beauty of Call Me By Your Name made for a very soothing visual experience. I felt completely relaxed while watching this film and it made me appreciate other qualities in the film such as the music. Still, the best thing about the film are the performances in it.
The Performances in Call Me By Your Name
Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer are great in the film both individually and when they are together. The relationship that develops between the characters they play is very authentic and this elevated the quality of the film. However, Michael Stuhlbarg gave my favourite performance in the film as Elio’s father, i.e. Mr. Perlman. As I said above, all the focus is on Timothée Chalamet when it comes to award recognition. While not undeserved, it does seem as though Stuhlbarg is being overlooked for the same type of recognition.
Honestly, a scene that he has with Timothée Chalamet towards the end of the film was astonishingly moving. While watching that scene, I felt that Stuhlbarg had guaranteed himself an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. I hope this still happens. Nonetheless, I doubt it will happen the more that time goes by where he is not nominated for awards that, in the past, have signalled what could happen in similar categories at the Oscars.
Stuhlbarg also provided the majority of the humorous moments in Call Me By Your Name. Clearly, comedy will always play a part in coming-of-age films. However, the humour in this film was not overt. Instead, it was the subtle delivery of the lines that made the film funny in parts. Still, drama is at the heart of Call Me By Your Name and the film felt different to many other coming-of-age films I have seen in the past.
I Like Call Me By Your Name, I Do Not Love It
For the most part, I was invested in the story and its dramatic elements. Yet, I do not revere Call Me By Your Name to the degree that many others do. This is because, for me, the story was not executed to the best standard possible. Certainly, some scenes in the film were what I considered to be filler. Those scenes dragged out the film to a length that was not required to tell this story. I dug the pacing for the majority of the time while watching the film. But, during the second half of the film, some scenes did not really add to the story being told and the film dragged as a result.
A scene involving masturbation into a peach comes to mind when I think about one of these filler scenes. If you cut out just that one scene, nothing is taken away from the film. More importantly, the relationship between Elio and Oliver is not worsened in its development or genuineness. The film is over two hours long and it did not need to be. It could have been much tighter and I would like the film much more than I do if it was. Still, while I do not regard Call Me By Your Name as one of the best films I have seen this year, it is a good film and worth seeing.
Is Call Me By Your Name Best Picture Worthy?
This film reminded me of Carol in a lot of ways. Much like how I felt about Carol after watching it, I do not believe that Call Me By Your Name is worthy of an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. I have no problem if performances in the film and technical elements such as the cinematography get Oscar recognition. However, the film as a whole did not convince me that it deserves a Best Picture nomination.
Despite this, if it does receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, I will not be surprised. Certainly, the buzz is high and, as I said, it is a good film that you should watch. Yet, even though I am in the minority, I need to be honest with my opinion. Call Me By Your Name is just not as great as it could have been or as many others regard it to be.
Thank you for reading this review! You can find my other articles here on Soapbox as well as my reviews which you can also find at my blog theturnertalks.com.