Film Review: “Call Me By Your Name”

Rayan Abdul Baki
Contributing Writer

Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead.

In the era of faults in our stars, hetero-romantic rom-coms/dramas and movies where the guy always gets the girl for saving their life, or vice versa, have taken over. The LGBTQ community has little to look up to. Disney is yet to have a Disney princess who happens to marry a princess for a change. The artistic world has consistently neglected the inclusivity of LGBTQ+ individuals, despite the fact that the concept of having a same-sex partner in the Western world appears to have lost the taboo status it once carried. Art, in general, best communicates an idea. With more LGBTQ+-based art, more individuals will become accepting, and LGBTQ+ individuals (children, in particular) will be able to breathe a little better in this hate-filled environment. “In a Heartbeat”, a recent animated short displaying the struggles of a closeted child and finding happiness in the end, gave LGBTQ+ children a reason to be happier. Cue, “Call Me by Your Name.”

This film-adaptation of Andre Aciman’s novel of the same name, directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by James Ivory, shows the coming together of 17-year-old Italian Elio Perlman, played by Timothee Chalamet and Oliver, played by Armie Hammer.

In summary, Elio’s father, who is an academic and archeologist, brings American-Jewish graduate student, extroverted Oliver to assist him with academic writing. Elio, an introverted bookworm finds little in common with him, and spends his summer reading and dating his girlfriend. Oliver, who crushes on one the local girls, makes Elio a bit jealous, and they meet, beginning a romantic relationship. Despite Elio attempting to display heteronormativity and bragging about a sexual relationship with his girlfriend in front of Oliver, they eventually confess their love for each other. Fast-forward through the kisses and cute moments, the pair go on a break.

Elio longs to meet Oliver again, and they attempt to hide their sexual relationship from Elio’s girlfriend and everyone else. In bed, Oliver says, ‘call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine’. Eventually, Elio’s parents become suspicious of the duo’s courtship, and Oliver flees the town, leaving behind a heartbroken Elio. His father, much to the surprise of many, confesses he had a similar relationship when he was younger and tries to ask Elio to assimilate with the sadness, but to keep trying to find love. The movie ends with a heartbroken Elio receiving word that Oliver is engaged to be married.

The movie is a metaphor of the struggles of being closeted, but displays a form of hope that moved me in ways indescribable. Despite the sad ending, it is an educating one: one that shows that although the pair’s relationship was never meant to occur, hope exists, and that love will always come to those who deserve it most. Elio’s father almost gave his son a second chance, and this is why, after a lot of crying, I smiled. Oliver and Elio’s love will always last, in those who dare, to stay true to themselves, and love.

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