This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
˗ˏˋ olivia ˊˎ˗’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
“is it better to speak or to die?”
i am on a role with these serious reviews
All to often movies get overhyped and seem to be a let down. I had heard of Call Me By Your Name but never watched it, I heard it got some oscar buzz and that’s about it. When I did decide to watch it, i was to say the least worried. I was afraid this was going to be one of those movies where it gets hyped up and is a let down. However, i decided to bite the bullet and watch it.
The movie is set in Northern Italy in the early 1980s, the film chronicles the tender but carnal summer love affair between Elio, a smart 17-year-old American-Italian Jewish boy, and Oliver, a 24-year-old American Jewish scholar Elio’s father took in as a house guest to help him with academic paperwork.
During the first 20 minutes I was very sceptical, i kept asking questions like, “why did the scene end like that?” and “this movie got oscar buzz?”
It was unbearable.
But then it stopped.
Something about the beautiful images, the sensuality, the humanity of it all...it made me stop thinking.
It was like being with the person you love.
And I thought I was going to go on and on about everything that's perfect about this movie, like the pain of the soundtrack and the dream-like cinematography and how the acting is that of two people who are really in love and in pain, but the only thing that needs to be said is that watching this movie was like being in love.
It was like being alone with the one person who makes you feel complete, it was like going on adventures with them and feeling that joy of having stories that just you two experienced, it was like feeling their body, feeling their comfort, feeling their trust, feeling their passion.
However I will put my two cents in about the cinematography, this movie is the reason why i watch movies. The locations in which this film was shot is absolutely stunning. From the Pearlmans house to the streets of Rome all skillfully done on 35mm lenses are so beautiful every frame could be put in a museum. It adds another layer to an already breathtaking film.
One scene in particular I want to talk about is the fathers monologue at the end of the movie.
“We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster, that we
go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything - what a waste!”
This is pure poetry, the father speaks from such a deep place in him it’s incredible. He accepts that what his son had was beautiful, not degrading him for who he chooses to love, he accepts it. He even explains that he wish he had the courage to do what elio did and speak. This just shows how much his father loves him.
One last thing i want to talk about it the soundtrack. This played such a key role in this movies, Sufjan Stevens was able to play such an important role in this movie. The end song “Visions of Gideon” is so heartbreaking and moving. There is no way you can listen to those songs again without being transported to somewhere in Northern Italy.
There’s so much beauty in this world that it’s easy to miss, it’s easy to focus on the headlines that constantly perturb or distract us from what life’s really about. Some of us are forced to hide who we are, living in fear of the bigotry and hatred from those who surround us; when everyone really wants the same thing in life, happiness. It’s films like this encapsuled with endless bounds of goodness to remind us of how beautiful it all is, our bodies and our thoughts and our desires to be who we are and cherish it with those we love. The film of the year, of a lifetime, and simply one of the most affecting pieces of art created; a gift to all of the senses and to anyone with feeling. A film made with emotions, not formulas; a staggering achievement that reminds movie fans and filmmakers everywhere that cinema is the most powerful form of creation, and that it’s far from being dead when works like “Call Me By Your Name” can make me feel so alive.
I love this movie with my whole heart and soul and looking forward to the sequel.