You seem to know more than anyone else around here.
If you only knew how little I really know about the things that matter.
What things that matter?
You know what things.
Why are you telling me this?
Because I thought you should know.
Because you thought I should know?
Because I wanted you to know. Because I wanted you to know. Because I wanted you to know. Because I wanted you to know.
Call Me By Your Name is the story of an unlikely friendship that then becomes an even less likely romance that then becomes an even less likely sexual affair. It meanders, takes its time and conjures a real, palpable atmosphere. The beautiful photography and use of music is really gorgeous and transporting. It’s a melancholy character study that also functions as an evocative look at love and romantic passion and it’s undeniably evocative and compelling. Timothee Chalamet gives a genuinely magnificent performance, a performance that buries the emotions at times beneath a mask of minimalism, but still manages to be incredibly powerful. With the final shot alone, he’s cemented himself as one of the finest actors working today and I can’t wait to see what he does next. He has a fascinating way of communicating deep emotion while also keeping ambiguity. Armie Hammer is an actor I’ve never particularly loved, but this role plays to his strengths, which are an easy, natural charm and, well, let’s face it, his near physical perfection. As a tormenting object of desire for a teenager struggling with his sexuality, you couldn’t pick a better person. And his performance here is as good as he’s ever been probably. Veteran character actor Michael Stuhlbarg is good in his supporting role, until he gets a late scene that revolves around a quite lengthy monologue and then he’s jaw-droppingly great. Esther Garrel is also very good as Chalamet’s on-again-off-again girlfriend; it’s a role that might have been thin & thankless, but she gives it real depth and feeling. The film isn’t perfect. There are issues with the screenplay. It’s in such serious dead-earnest that it occasionally comes damnably close to self-parody. And just when it seems to be reaching its climax, it suddenly slips into a meandering, late-third-act section of our two main characters having an idyllic vacation. I’m all for aimlessly wandering in a romantic haze, but we’ve just spent a good part of the previous two hours doing exactly that already and the head-fake in the direction of an ending that then turns into more of the same in a different town is a bit trying. But certainly none of these problems are crippling and they pale in comparison to the pleasures and beauties of this fine film. It’s a movie that puts its foot wrong a couple of times, but it’s mostly operating gracefully and quietly and it’s a film I think will stand the test of time and, in fact, I rather think it will be better on a second watch, which is no mean feat given the quality a first watch revealed. 4 stars.
tl;dr – some screenplay issues, but astonishing performances, gorgeous visuals and a palpable atmosphere elevate this beautiful film above any problems. 4 stars.