This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
zoya’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Okay, this is going to be a long review. I know this is my third time reviewing this film, this is simply because I have now found the words to describe how this film (and even the book) makes me feel.
“Every time I go back to Rome, I go back to that one spot. It is still alive for me, still resounds with something totally present, as though a heart stolen from a tale by Poe still throbbed under the ancient slate pavement to remind me that, here, I had finally encountered the life that was right for me but had failed to have.”
This quote from the book spoke to me in such an extraordinary way. It speaks volumes. Elio going back to a particular spot; to feel something, to feel anything is so simplistically real. The last bit of the quote is what gets me. In such a short, simple way he articulates such a powerful feeling without mentioning any particular emotions. He had everything he ever wanted, he felt complete. Yet, he failed to grasp it; it is as if he had a taste of what his life could have been. This can relate to anyone. For example, someone can have a certain song they love to listen to. It might bring immense pain to them, but it makes one feel alive and remember certain memories at the same time. It is a strange sensation and feeling; to willingly do something which you know will make you feel sad but you just want to feel something, feel anything. Which is what Elio experiences. He goes back to that one spot every time he goes to Rome because it brings him happiness but at the same time, it makes him sad. The reason he goes is to reminisce them memories all over again because he would rather feel something rather than feel nothing.
Moving onto the film, it was everything I was expecting and more. I watched this film at the beginning of this year, I wanted to fully experience this beautifully made story. I remember watching this at 1am wondering.. Will I feel differently? Will I feel the same? I was so interesting to see what kind of impact this film would have on me.
The one scene what stood out to me was when Elio had a nosebleed during dinner with his parents, Oliver and the couple arguing. This is the first one to one intimate, authentic conversation between them both. It is such a raw, genuine moment for the two of them. I liked how in this affectionate moment Elio tells Oliver about his Jewish background, which you can tell he was curious about ever since he saw Oliver's necklace at their first breakfast together. I just felt like Elio was much more open about himself, he was much more comfortable around Oliver which is maybe why I love this scene so much.
The scene which absolutely took my breath away was the scene where Elio and Oliver go on their little adventure together. This was one of the scenes which made me utterly bawl (I still cannot watch it without bawling).
As soon as Mystery of Love starts playing the first thing you see is Oliver and Elio smiling on the bus. Then it cuts to Elio and Oliver in a field shouting their names and screaming with pure joy. They are just so happy, content, exhilarated and free. I remember watching this and thinking “imagine being this carelessly happy and glowing with pure happiness.” This scene is such a breath of fresh air, their happiness is so contagious. I could feel and see all the emotions they were experiencing.
I just wholeheartedly love this film. This film has impacted me in many glorious and eye-opening ways. I love the soundtrack so much, it is possibly my favourite thing to come out of this film for me.
I enjoyed every single moment of it. I wish I could watch this like it was my first time, so I could experience how I felt when I first witnessed this ethereal masterpiece.