Welcome to Queer Fudanshi. Let’s Talk. In this post, we’re going to talk about Call Me By Your Name.
Call Me By Your Name is an American coming-of-age story about an Italian-Jewish teenager named Elio whose father, an archeologist, invites a different scholar/student to live with them at their Italian villa every summer.
This year, a young American man named Oliver stays with the family. This man’s arrival in Elio’s life sparks a sexual awakening in him as he falls deeply in love for the first time.
This is Call Me By Your Name.
Warning: The film contains several sex scenes (though, artfully/tastefully delivered without nudity).
Where To Watch:
*May not be playing near you.
Amazon (Video-on-Demand $14.99/Blu-ray $19.96/DVD $14.96)
Check Other Video On-Demand Sites/Services
The Talk (Non-Spoilers):
Call Me By Your Name is yet another indie film centering around a coming of age storyline with a gay main character. The film is focused mostly on the main character’s, Elio’s, growth as a person and that just happens to be delivered through a gay romance.
In addition, this is another “experience not entertainment” film. The point is for you to see a moment in the lives of these characters. The creative team’s focus is on the characters and not on making us viewers entertained while watching it.
I walked away feeling glad I saw the film, but not so in love that I have to want to see it again. Maybe, you’ll feel the same way.
(Also, thanks to this film, Timothee Charlamet is now a rising star. We’ll see if he can follow through with his next few projects).
The Talk (Spoilers):
Experience Not Entertainment
This is yet another art house/indie film focused on a gay romance that isn’t about entertainment but about experience. Like Blue is the Warmest Color and Spa Night, Call Me By Your Name is more about submerging you into the world of the characters and witnessing a moment in their lives than working to please you as the viewer.
While some people may love these types of films and eat them up like popcorn, I always walk away feeling like I’m happy I saw them but I never need to see them again.
It’s an experience, but it isn’t entertainment.
Coming Of Age Story That’s Also Gay
Another similarity between Call Me By Your Name and the other two films is that it’s a coming of age story. It seems art house/indie films love that stuff.
As with Spa Night, Call Me By Your Name is a coming of age story that also happens to be gay. What I mean is that the story is focused on this character’s (Elio’s) growth as a person and explores his sexuality, but it doesn’t discuss gay culture/community/pride.
On top of that, the sexualities of the two characters are so in flux that I wouldn’t even assign a label like gay or bisexual when talking about them. (Of course, I will for the tags, but that’s just to help others finds this post).
That said, there is a strong gay male romance at the very center of this film. Actually, this is an incredibly romantic, intimate, and sensual film.
First off, they have the perfect location for a romance. The Italian countryside surrounded by nature with people swimming in ponds, riding around in bikes, and asking total strangers for glasses of water is so humble and peaceful. The setting sends the viewer to some ancestral callback that emphasizes the bond of nature and love.
As for the main romance, it couldn’t be sweeter. Elio’s romance with Oliver was the perfect sexual awakening that was full of intimacy, fun, and lust.
On top of that, their relationship was so nuanced and subtle. Sometimes that was to a fault for me as a viewer.
For instance, I was put a little off guard during the confession scene because I had missed the subtle hints of attraction between the two. When Elio said, “You know what I mean,” I was like, “Does he?”
Apparently, the two’s flirt game was on a whole other level that I didn’t detect. I thought the whole shoulder rub was just Elio’s sexually confused self reacting to Oliver being nice. Not that Oliver was purposefully dropping hints of interest. That totally went over my head.
In addition, there’s a lot of sex in this movie, but its all done pretty tastefully. There’s no full-frontal nudity, and no scenes as graphic as the ones in Blue is the Warmest Color.
The peach scene was the most graphic thing and all we got was Timothee Charlamet’s scrunched up face and squishy peach sounds. Though, as I sat with an older gentleman to my left and a straight couple to my right, I still felt a little uncomfortable.
Lastly, Elio is the star of this movie. While Armie Hammer certainly delivered a solid performance, this is Timothee Charlamet’s movie. That’s why he’s currently nominated for an Oscar.
On that note, I feel that this is the birth of a movie star. I’ll be honest, I may have a little crush on Timothee Charlamet, too. Though, I have seen enough of this skinny, white boy shirtless to last me a lifetime. If you’re interested in seeing shirtless guys, Call Me By Your Name’s got you covered.
But again, this story is a coming of age film and Elio is our main character. By the end of the film I emphasized with him so much that I felt a sense of ownership to his story. I had gotten to know Elio. I had seen a moment in Elio’s life, and I, in turn, was better for it.
Another Sad Ending
That said, this film does give us another sad ending, but with a silver lining. Even though the movie had the nerve to have the credits be us watching Elio cry in front of the fireplace, I left feeling that this wasn’t the end for Elio.
His romance with Oliver ended, but Elio is a young man who’s just discovering his sexuality. I understood that he would eventually get over it and move on.
That’s more than most sad endings for gay stories give me.
Call Me By Your Name is another coming of age gay film that left me happy to have experienced, but not waiting to watch it again.
I emphasized with Elio, I got wrapped up in the Italian countryside, and I left feeling complete.
It was worth the watch.
- In terms of the age difference, its a none issue. I didn’t worry about it with the character because I knew that storywise, Elio is 17 and Oliver is 25. That said, they should have gotten a younger looking actor to play Oliver. Armie Hammer was great, but he doesn’t look 25 anymore.
- Shout out to Markia who sadly didn’t get mentioned in this post, but had the hero moment. She had every right to stay mad at Elio, but she rose above it. Props to her.
- No seriously, I lowkey have a crush on Timothee Charlamet. Especially with his longer hair.
- But also, I pray I never see him shirtless again. So over it.