Call Me by Your Name ★★★½

This coming-of-age story about a passionate, lustful summer between a teenage boy and an older male student temporarily living with his parents boasts strong lead performances by Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, both compensating very well for somewhat underwritten roles; the story takes place on a villa in Italy and, in this and many other ways, you can lob a lot of accusations at the thing that are reasonably well-justified. It's rather bougie -- nothing against beautiful estates, I wish we all had them, but it does have an unnecessary distancing effect -- it's a little weird about women, its story is finally predictable and familiar, the editing is strange (scenes either go on too long or end too abruptly), the score oddly repetitive, and it leans too much on dialogue to explain its characters' emotions rather than really delving into the evolution of their mutual attraction. All that said, it feels like it gets a great deal right about the dreamlike enormity and heaviness of an early, short-lived, whirlwind romance, particularly in terms of the way such a sweeping event leaves a person reeling, and how the rest of the world gets cast for however long (maybe forever) in its shadow. And perhaps more than anything else, it captures gorgeously the feeling of an idyllic summer passing away faster than you can grab ahold of it, of learning all too late how you should've been spending it, not to mention the way youth itself magnifies and intensifies every event and feeling. The aforementioned predictability, even inevitability, of the story's structure reaches its apex with the final scenes, which are nevertheless very touching, the last shot in particular; director Luca Guadagnino needn't resort to flashbacks to show us what Chalamet's character is thinking about, because we can see it all playing again in his eyes.

Michael Stuhlbarg's performance as the father figure, who seems to realize what's "going on" surprisingly quickly, is rather bizarre and I'm not sure what to make of it. He's like Michael Sheen's part in Midnight in Paris rendered as a sympathetic character; perhaps his world is just too far from mine, but I found the character and his embodiment of it a bit unintentionally comedic. His monologue near the end is effective, but also brings up a lot of disturbing questions about just how heroic or admirable that sort of repression really is, especially given the pain he's causing by living the way he does. Still, it's nice to see a movie about a gay teen with understanding parents for a change. On the other hand, Chalamet's restlessness, attitude and pensive tics rang as true for me as Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate or Léa Seydoux in Blue Is the Warmest Color; the adolescent's awkward relationship with the world around them has seldom been so well captured.

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