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Sundance 2017 Film Review: “Call Me By Your Name” (2017) ★★★★★


Michael Stuhlbarg, Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer appear in Call Me by Your Name by Luca Guadagnino, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Michael Stuhlbarg, Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer appear in Call Me by Your Name by Luca Guadagnino, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

We all love watching romantic movies where we cry at the end of the film for two reasons: the celebration of love or due to an unhappy ending. But sometimes we just watch a movie and experience a hard to explain emotional feeling for no reason. That, I guess, can happen due to many things but mainly because of the charm of the storyline or the beauty of the film. Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name is the film that was on my watch list at Sundance Film Festival. Despite its length, I never felt that it was too long… I never cared about time or the harsh weather outside of venue… and how could I, when there was a storm in the film itself?

It’s summer of 1983 somewhere in the Northern Italy. A man named Oliver (Armie Hammer) visits Mr. Perlman’s house to continue his research. During his visit, he meets the young and full of energy Elio, the host’s son with whom a passionate romance begins. While the both are happy with each other’s company, the clock starts ticking as an American plans to return home…

The delicate opening scene of Call Me By Your Name brings a feeling of satisfaction, as I am sure, not only you but many others will find it charmingly sweet. When Oliver meets Elio, you can tell that both of them are trying to be very careful about their behavior but more than anything, control their feelings. It’s in Elio we quickly notice that he has a warm and unusual attraction towards Oliver, who is much older than him. Oliver, who keeps the distance from Elio, however, conducts his own test to see if he was right about Elio and his desire.

Elio, like a little child, runs away from Oliver, who, slightly touches his hand to let the man know it’s not what he wants from him. But as the story unfolds and you see how both Elio and Oliver try hard to avoid each other, it’s their love that eventually brings them closer than they could have imagined. Despite Elio and Oliver having to wait for the second half of the film, you as a viewer won’t be bothered at all, as you will enjoy every second of the film that has such a subtle approach.

There is something unusual about Call Me By Your Name. First of all, it never tries to force its point to the viewer and manipulate their feelings. It never gains control over you whatsoever. It just gradually begins telling its story while you will not just follow it, but witness or even more, experience it. By saying experience means Luca Guadagnino’s directorial approach is phenomenal. He removes the curtain of doubts and prejudices by leaving you to admire the relationship of two people without paying attention to their gender. Because, whether you like gay romance films or not, this film has never been about that. It was about Elio and Oliver, their romance, feelings and passion between them, that we all familiar with regardless of what gender we are.

In conclusion, Call Me by Your Name is a truly incredible film. Powerful and impactful. Armie Hammer as Oliver is outstanding. The performance he delivered is something I did not expect at all. Timothée Chalamet is a true star of the film, where with his childish look delivers the performance of high caliber. The closing scene is sad and relieving at the same time, thanks to his performance. In the end, Call Me By Your Name is the movie that will be discussed many hours after you’ve watched it. It will, and I am sure, will gain a lot of respect and recognition from all over the world, and will be highly anticipated by everyone who will ever hear a word about it. But trust me on this, Luca Guadagnino’s movie is one of the best romance films made in a decade and maybe even longer… It is you who will have to help me and yourself to figure it out.

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About Ulkar Alakbarova (1100 Articles)
My name is Ulkar Alakbarova. A wonderful name, is it not? I come from the exotic land of Azerbaijan but now I live in the hub of Hollywood North – Toronto, Canada. How lucky I am to be able to enjoy and indulge in my favourite avocation of watching movies. Movies of every genre are screened here in Toronto. There are black and white classics, avant garde, independently produced, and of course, newly released movies for all to enjoy. Let me share this treasure of entertainment with you. Read my thoughts and opinions then let me know if you agree.

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