Adapted from Andre Aciman’s 2007 novel of the same name, director Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash, I am Love) drenches us with the golden heat of a Northern Italian summer in his new sensual masterpiece, Call Me by Your Name.
It is 1983, and 17-year-old music prodigy Elio (Timothée Chalamet, Lady Bird) whiles his time away by the pool in a beautiful vacation villa along with his Greco-Roman professor father (Michael Stuhlbarg, Arrival, Trumbo) and French mother (Amira Casar), while the family reads German poetry to each other. Each year, the family welcomes an academic assistant for six weeks and this year’s guest is the broad-shouldered, cocky Oliver (Armie Hammer), who could easily stand on his own among the Greek statues he studies. At first ambivalent to each other, it is not long before the mutual attraction between the wiry, hot-blooded adolescent and the Adonis in tiny shorts simmers beyond the bathroom they share.
This time around, Guadagnino eschews his usual splashy filmmaking with a less hurried pace and understated storytelling, at the same time offering ripe, glowing visual details to amplify and fill in the subtext. Ultimately, the director and his cast have crafted a movie that transcends its same-sex central story to tell a universal coming-of-age story. Reflecting on human nature, family and first love, Call Me by Your Name joins the likes of Brokeback Mountain, Carol, and Moonlight in the essential queer cinema canon.
“Peachy keen. A luminous, sun-kissed Italian love story brimming with warmth, passion and feeling. This is utterly unmissable.” (Josh Winning, Total Film)
“A film that’s at once light, joyful and emotionally devastating, with deeply affecting central performances. A full-hearted romantic masterpiece.” (Olly Richards, Empire)
“Outside of a few short moments in Ismail Merchant and James Ivory’s Maurice, and Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, the love and intimacy between two male characters has never truly felt this real or emotionally heartbreaking in a theatrical context. It’s almost revolutionary. It’s cinematic art.” (Gregory Ellwood, The Playlist)