- Director: Luca Guadagnino
- Writer: Luca Guadagnino; James Ivory
- Producer: Naima Abed; Tom Dolby
This is going to go down like a lead balloon...we didn't hate it, we didn't love it...we [kind of] liked it...with reservations.
The word 'masterpiece' has been bandied about a little too liberally when it comes to Call Me By Your Name...it's not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, in places, it's incredibly scrappy...both in terms of writing and direction.
Nominated for 4 Oscars...all [thoroughly] undeserved.
Timothée Chalamet delivers a competent performance as the awkward, precocious teen...a character who suffers from hypothermia, he is so devoid of warmth...teens are meant to be difficult, that's their fabric. This one...well, let's just say 'detestable' is too strong a word...but, it's going in the right direction.
As for Arnie Hammer - deservedly not nominated - again, gives a competent perfomance replete with bad dancing and soft-boiled eggs...as the teen's preferred 'cherry-picker' [the fruit metaphor is carried tiresomely throughout the film] - or, as many dissenting voices have likened him [his character] to that of a statutory rapist/paedophile...the age of consent, homosexually & heterosexually, in Italy is 14 years old and has been since 1890. So, stick that in your dissenting pipes!
Now...James Ivory has directed some timeless classics: Room with a View, Howards End, The Remains of the Day & Maurice (which he also adapted for the screen). 14 years after his last screenplay, he gives the world this...and, increduously, received the Oscar nod.
Call Me By Your Name has three scenes that should have been deleted and/or re-worked. Two are distinctly directorial and the one Mr Ivory is responsible for is pivotal...and, catastrophic. When the tiresome teen decides to spill the beans about his sexuality...instead of a great out-pouring of emotional sluice as they dither round a monument for fallen soldiers, we get, to paraphrase:
I have something I need to tell you.
That's it!!! Talk about anticlimactic. However, there is one speech that soars emotionally...near the end, when the tiresome teen's father gives him a few words of advice and imparts a mighty suppressed truth. Truly, heartbreaking!
Luca Guadagnino may have been given the Oscar nod for Best Film...but, not for Best Director. There's a good reason...the film is filled with frilly, mundane irrelevances. In other words, padding. Oh, if your actor doesn't know how to smoke, don't let them smoke. A good 30 minutes could have been cut...if not 40...thus ensuring that the snail's pace would be increased exponentially...making it a better film! Ever heard of: Less is more!
Guadagnino's ideas surrounding...sex and suggestion...are particularly painful to watch. Those boiled eggs! No way of God's hallowed earth are soft-boiled eggs sexual! That ridiculous peach scene - who masturbates with a peach? Ever heard of a melon?!? Pass on the banana!
Once upon a time, when [heterosexual] lovers got down to do the dirty, the direcor cut to crashing waves and swirling surge [or, surging swirls]. Guadagnino has given the world the homosexual equivalent...swaying trees. Yes, when Elio & Oliver finally get down to do the dirty...the camera zooms through the window and settles on some swaying trees! It it wasn't so bad, it would be funny...you can ruffle my foliage anytime!
The Oscar-nominated song...Mystery of Love...a Simon & Garfunkel-ish sounding reject.
All this that has been said...in conclusion, we didn't hate the film, we didn't love it...we [kind of] liked [bits of] it...with a few [massive] reservations. Not the masterpiece that so many have [erroneously] proclaimed it to be!
It’s the hot, sun-drenched summer of 1983 and Elio is at his parents’ country seat in northern Italy. The seventeen-year-old idles away the time listening to music, reading books and swimming until one day his father’s new American assistant arrives at their large villa. Oliver is charming and, like Elio, has Jewish roots; he is also young, self-confident and good looking. At first Elio is somewhat cold and distant towards the young man but before long the two begin going out together on excursions. Elio begins to make tentative overtures towards Oliver that become increasingly intimate – even if, as Oliver says, ‘one can’t talk about such things’. As the short summer progresses, the pair’s mutual attraction grows more intense. Director Luca Guadagnino co-wrote the screenplay – which is based on the novel of the same name by André Aciman – with US director James Ivory and Walter Fasano. Guadagnino transposes the memories of the book’s first-person narrator Elio into quietly atmospheric images. Besides the two main characters of this unexpected coming-out story (played by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer) the film also boasts a third leading role in the shape of the seductive landscape.