This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
John Salazar’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I don't know what I can say about this film other than I was paralyzed. I did not move the entire time I watched it and still felt awestruck after the credits rolled (and please do stay for the credits, it's so worth it). 'Call Me by Your Name' was not only my favorite film at Sundance, but quite possibly one of my favorite ever. It told such a genuine and raw love story with precision and heart. It'd be simplistic to just label this a queer film because it transcends sexuality, never feeling the need to make it an issue as other films do. Our protagonists never felt the need to hide their love because of social acceptance, nor was it ever foregrounded that it is a forbidden act. It simply was a beautiful love story in which both parties knew their time together was finite, making the eventual separation that much more heartbreaking.
Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer carry this film on their backs, for both bring such an honest presence to their respective characters. Both are extremely intellectual, yet it never feels to get to the level of pretentious annoyance. Both are very different in personality, yet so similar when together. Timothée as Elio struck me the most because his acting provided so much subtlety and body language into which to read. His eyes always told you what he was thinking, and his character always had this conflicting appearance of confidence yet hesitation on who he is. His scenes really do touch me the most because since he's younger, it really is a case of true love for him, not knowing how to handle it's inevitable end. Armie brings just as much presence, making you feel wholesome in his manner and always welcome despite his intimidatingly good looks. He's the character that's harder to figure out because he is so vocal and extroverted about who he is. His age matches the maturity of Elio's, making them a beautiful pair.
Luca Guadagnino deserves so much credit for bringing this story to life. It's the small things that really get me: the extra second he holds the close up on Elio's face as he watches Oliver dance, the disorienting cut to Elio when Oliver touches him for the first time. He has just as much emotional involvement in the story as the actors, falling in love with them and the characters and having to let go just the same.
I really cannot express how much this film has impacted me, and it hasn't even been a week since I first saw it. Maybe the Park City air was thin, or maybe this is just what I needed at this point in my life. Nonetheless, I hope many others get the same experience as I did.