Call Me Your Name: Berlinale Film Review

call-me

If you liked Luca Guadagnino’s previous film A Bigger Splash, you’re going to love Call Me By Your Name. It has a very similar feel, same sexual/romantic themes and setting – Brits/Americans living in sun-drenched Europe – but it’s way more satisfying….

It is the 1980s. Timothee Chalamet plays Elio, a teenage boy who spent the holidays in northern Italy at his parents’ home. His father Mr Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a professor and he often has a student come to stay with him and study. That year he hosts 24-year-old Oliver (Armie Hammer), who Elio becomes obsessed with and almost jealous of but these feelings turn out to be more romantic in nature, and they are reciprocated. They embark on an illicit affair for the rest of the summer.

First and foremost, I have to praise the cast. This is Hammer’s best performance and his bravest by far. We’ve never see him do a sex scene before and his first, of which happens to be homosexual, is pretty intense and erotic. The scenes usually fade out before they actually get down but it’s still more than you usually see in same-sex sequences. But I have to give the biggest shoutout to Chalamet, who is fantastic. He was captivating as hell onscreen and very natural. He is even braver – we see him do heterosexual sex, homosexual sex and some uncomfortable masturbation scenes – and during the credits there is a long continuous take of him crying that is utterly memorising. Needless to say, I googled the crap out of him and I got back.

The story takes a while to get going as the first half is basically just focussed on Elio and the gay romance is the focus in the second half, which takes too long to wrap up. I loved the story though, was happy to sit through all the build up as I found Elio riveting and it was glorious to look at. This was my favourite film at the film festival and I would happily see it again.

Seen at the Berlin International Film Festival. No release information yet.

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