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Call Me by Your Name (2017)
In 1980s Italy, romance blossoms between a seventeen-year-old student and the older man hired as his father’s research assistant.
- Luca Guadagnino
- James Ivory (screenplay by)
- André Aciman (based on the novel by)
Call Me by Your Name (Italian: Chiamami col tuo nome) is a 2017 coming-of-age romantic drama film directed by Luca Guadagnino. Its screenplay, by James Ivory, who also co-produced, is based on the 2007 novel of the same title by André Aciman. The film is the final instalment in Guadagnino’s thematic “Desire” trilogy, after I Am Love (2009), and A Bigger Splash (2015).
Set in 1983 in northern Italy, Call Me by Your Name chronicles the romantic relationship between a 17-year-old, Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), and Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old graduate-student assistant to Elio’s father Samuel (Michael Stuhlbarg), an archaeology professor. The film also stars actresses Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, and Victoire Du Bois.
Development began in 2007 when producers Peter Spears and Howard Rosenman optioned the rights to Aciman’s novel. Ivory had been chosen to co-direct with Guadagnino, but stepped down in 2016. Guadagnino had joined the project as a location scout, and eventually became sole director and co-producer.
Call Me by Your Name was financed by several international companies, and its principal photography took place mainly in the city and comune of Crema, Lombardy, between May and June 2016. Cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom used 35 mm film, as opposed to employing digital cinematography. The filmmakers spent weeks decorating Villa Albergoni, one of the main shooting locations. Guadagnino curated the film’s soundtrack, which features two original songs by American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens.
Sony Pictures Classics acquired distribution rights to Call Me by Your Name before its premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2017. The film began a limited release in the United States on November 24, 2017, and went on general release on January 19, 2018.
It received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for Ivory’s screenplay, Guadagnino’s direction, Mukdeeprom’s cinematography, and the performances of Chalamet, Hammer, and Stuhlbarg. The film garnered a number of accolades, including many for its screenplay, direction, acting, and music.
It received four nominations at the 90th Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for 22-year-old Chalamet (the third-youngest nominee in the category), and winning for Best Adapted Screenplay. The screenplay also won at the 23rd Critics’ Choice Awards, 71st British Academy Film Awards, and the 70th Writers Guild of America Awards.
Call Me by Your Name (2017) Trailer
Call Me by Your Name (2017) Reviews
Never has this been more true than in “Call Me By Your Name,” a lush and vibrant masterpiece about first love set amid the warm, sunny skies, gentle breezes and charming, tree-lined roads of northern Italy. Guadagnino takes his time establishing this place and the players within it. He’s patient in his pacing, and you must be, as well. But really, what’s the rush? It’s the summer of 1983, and there’s nothing to do but read, play piano, ponder classic art and pluck peaches and apricots from the abundant fruit trees.
17-year-old Elio (Timothee Chalamet) is once again visiting his family’s summer home with his parents: his father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an esteemed professor of Greco-Roman culture, and his mother (Amira Casar), a translator and gracious hostess. Elio has the gangly body of a boy but with an intellect and a quick wit beyond his years, and the worldliness his parents have fostered within him at least allows him to affect the façade of sophistication.
But beneath the bravado, a gawky and self-conscious kid sometimes still emerges. By the end of the summer, that kid will be vanquished forever.
An American doctoral student named Oliver (Armie Hammer) arrives for the annual internship Elio’s father offers. Oliver is everything Elio isn’t—or at least, that’s our primary perception of him. Tall, gorgeous and supremely confident, he is the archetypal all-American hunk. But as polite as he often can be, Oliver can also breeze out of a room with a glib, “Later,” making him even more of a tantalizing mystery.
Chalamet and Hammer have just ridiculous chemistry from the get-go, even though (or perhaps because) their characters are initially prickly toward each other: testing, pushing, feeling each other out, yet constantly worrying about what the other person thinks. They flirt by trying to one-up each other with knowledge of literature or classical music, but long before they ever have any physical contact, their electric connection is unmistakable. Lazy poolside chats are fraught with tension; spontaneous bike rides into town to run errands feel like nervous first dates.
Writer James Ivory’s generous, sensitive adaptation of Andre Aciman’s novel reveals these characters and their ever-evolving dynamic in beautifully steady yet detailed fashion. And so when Elio and Oliver finally dare to reveal their true feelings for each other—a full hour into the film—the moment makes you hold your breath with its intimate power, and the emotions feel completely authentic and earned.
The way Elio and Oliver peel away each other’s layers has both a sweetness and a giddy thrill to it, even though they feel they must keep their romance a secret from Elio’s parents. (Elio also has a kinda-sorta girlfriend in Marzia [Esther Garrel], a thoughtful, playful French teen who’s also in town for the summer.)
One of the many impressive elements of Chalamet’s beautiful, complex performance is the effortless way he transitions between speaking in English, Italian and French, depending on whom Elio is with at the time. It gives him an air of maturity that’s otherwise still in development; eventually his massive character arc feels satisfying and true.
And yet, the most resonant part of “Call Me By Your Name” may not even be the romance itself, but rather the lingering sensation that it can’t last, which Guadagnino evokes through long takes and expert use of silence. A feeling of melancholy tinges everything, from the choice of a particular shirt to the taste of a perfectly ripe peach. And oh my, that peach scene—Guadagnino was wise when he took a chance and left it in from the novel. It really works, and it’s perhaps the ultimate example of how masterfully the director manipulates and enlivens all of our senses.
There’s a lushness to the visual beauty of this place, but it’s not so perfect as to be off-putting. Quite the opposite. Despite the director’s infamous eye for meticulous detail, cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s 35mm images provide a tactile quality that heightens the sensations, makes them feel almost primal. We see the wind gently rustling through the trees, or streaks of sunlight hitting Elio’s dark curls through an open bedroom window, and while it’s all subtly sensual, an inescapable tension is building underneath.
Guadagnino establishes that raw, immediate energy from the very beginning through his use of music. The piano of contemporary classical composer John Adams’ intricate, insistent “Hallelujah Junction – 1st Movement” engages us during the elegant title sequence, while Sufjan Stevens’ plaintive, synthy “Visions of Gideon” during the film’s devastating final shot ends the film on an agonizingly sad note. (You’ll want to stay all the way through the closing credits—that long, last image is so transfixing.
I seriously don’t know how Chalamet pulled it off, but there is serious craft on display here.)
The first time he plays it, it’s at an outdoor disco where Oliver feels so moved by the bouncy, percussive beat that he can’t help but jump around to it and get lost in the music, lacking all sense of self-consciousness. Watching this towering figure just go for it on the dance floor in his Converse high-tops is a moment of pure joy, but it’s also as if a dam has broken within Elio, being so close to someone who’s feeling so free.
The second time he plays it, toward the end of Oliver and Elio’s journey, it feels like the soundtrack to a time capsule as it recaptures a moment of seemingly endless emotional possibility.
They know what they’ve found has to end—we know it has to end. But a beautiful monologue from the always excellent Stuhlbarg as Elio’s warmhearted and open-minded father softens the blow somewhat. It’s a perfectly calibrated scene in a film full of them, and it’s one of a million reasons why “Call Me By Your Name” is far and away the best movie of the year.
Call Me by Your Name, the latest film from Italian director Luca Guadagnino, is a study in mood and emotion. It’s about living in the moment and capturing that moment. It’s about using the canvas of film to convey to the audience the inner feelings of the characters. Call Me by Your Name is short on dialogue and long on emoting. It’s a story of first love: impossible, impermanent, and passionate. It’s about crossing thresholds, rejecting societal conventions, and allowing the heart to overrule the mind.
The film is set in the north of Italy during 1983. Guadagnino perfectly captures the lazy, hazy rapture of an endless summer, reminding us of simpler days when vacations were adventures and escapes, freed from structure and regimen. The romance that develops between Oliver (Armie Hammer) and Elio (Timothee Chalamet) couldn’t have happened at any other time or in any other place.
Same-sex relationships were outside norms in this era but, away from the centers of intolerance, the romance is allowed to develop: halting and uncertain at first, with missteps and miscommunications, then with all the explosive power of water gushing through a breached dam.
Elio is a 17-year old American who has accompanied his father (Michael Stuhlbarg) and mother (Amira Cesar) to their villa in Italy, where they spend every summer. (When asked, “What’s there to do around here?”, Elio responds, “Wait for summer to end.”) His father, an archeology professor, recruits a new assistant annually. This year, it’s a mid-20s American, Oliver, who’s blessed with good looks and no shortage of confidence.
Elio, whose interactions with his semi-girlfriend, Marzia (Esther Garrel), are on their way toward a mutual loss of virginity, is initially irritated by the arrival of the “usurper.” (Oliver is taking over Elio’s room.) Gradually, however, he becomes interested. It takes a long time, however, before both young men recognize that their feelings are reciprocated.
Call Me by Your Name is about the attraction between male characters, neither of whom self-identifies as gay. Falling in love with Oliver doesn’t prevent Elio from furthering his sexual explorations with Marzia and Oliver has an “on-again, off-again” thing going on with a woman back home. For these two, however, the chemistry is overwhelming and, once they set aside their misgivings, the sparks ignite.
Guadagnino films the sex scenes with restraint (he cuts away to a window at the moment of consummation), emphasizing sensuality over raw sexuality. (One can argue that he takes an opposite approach to the one employed by Abdellatif Kechiche in Blue is the Warmest Color. This is closer to Andre Techine territory.) To the extent that we’re privy to it, the sex (both male-male and male-female) is fairly unremarkable, putting aside for the moment the indignities suffered by a peach.
The screenwriter is James Ivory, who established himself while working with Ismail Merchant during the 1990s (Howards End, The Remains of the Day). As is true of many of Ivory’s films, the narrative crawls at a glacial pace, demanding a degree of patience.
Call Me by Your Name is never in a hurry to get anywhere and, although that feeds into the lazy summertime atmosphere Guadagnino pursues, it also demands the viewer’s surrender to the languorous pace. Call Me by Your Name is constructed as a series of moments and there are occasions when its tangents (the extraction of a statue from its watery grave, a discussion about the merits of Bunuel) become tiresome.
Although Armie Hammer is best-known for prominent roles in action/adventure fare (The Lone Ranger, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), this is a bold career move (although arguably no bolder than the one made by Heath Ledger when he appeared in Brokeback Mountain). Freed from Hollywood expectations, he is allowed to show depth and range he hasn’t previously exhibited.
He displays strong chemistry with his younger co-star, Chalamet (who has a supporting role in another Oscar contender, Lady Bird), whose awkwardness contrasts with the aura of confidence exuded by Hammer. Michael Stuhlbarg, also currently in The Shape of Water, remains largely in the background until he gives an impassioned speech to his son about the importance of embracing pain.
(One that weirdly echoes something William Shatner said in Star Trek V: “Pain and guilt… They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!”)
Guadagnino has spoken about taking a Before Sunrise approach to the story by revisiting the characters in several years’ time for a sequel. Although Call Me by Your Name is nothing like Linklater’s trilogy, which was grounded in conversation and dialogue, the fascination would be the same: revisiting characters in a different setting to see whether the intense passion of a brief interlude will resurface.
There’s less ambiguity about the future at the culmination of Call Me by Your Name than there was at the end of Before Sunrise, but the idea of revisiting Oliver and Elio six or seven years later is no less intriguing. It’s easy to believe that this love story hasn’t written its final chapter.
Call Me by Your Name (2017) Credits
Call Me by Your Name (2017)
Rated R for sexual content, nudity and some language.
Timothée Chalamet as Elio Perlman
Armie Hammer as Oliver
Michael Stuhlbarg as Lyle Perlman
Amira Casar as Annella Perlman
Esther Garrel as Marzia
Victoire Du Bois as Chiara
- Luca Guadagnino
Writer (based on the novel by)
- Andre Aciman
- James Ivory
- Sayombhu Mukdeeprom
- Walter Fasano
Call Me By Your Name (Italy/France/Brazil/US, 2017)
Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel
Home Release Date: 2018-03-13
Screenplay: James Ivory, based on the novel by Andre Aciman
Cinematography: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom
U.S. Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
U.S. Release Date: 2017-11-24
MPAA Rating: “R” (Sexual Content, Nudity, Profanity)
Subtitles: In English, Italian, and French with English subtitles
Theatrical Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Call Me by Your Name (2017) Plot
It is the summer of 1983. Elio, a 17-year-old Jewish Italo-French young man, lives with his parents in rural Northern Italy. Elio’s father, a professor of archaeology, invites a 24-year-old American graduate student, Oliver, who is also Jewish, to live with the family over the summer and help with his academic paperwork.
Elio, an introspective bibliophile and a talented musician, initially thinks he has little in common with Oliver, who appears confident and carefree. Elio spends much of the summer reading, playing piano, and hanging out with his childhood friends, Chiara and Marzia. During a volleyball match, Oliver touches Elio’s back as a sign of interest but Elio brushes it off. However, Elio later finds himself jealous upon seeing Oliver pursue Chiara.
Elio and Oliver spend more time together, going for long walks into town, and accompanying Elio’s father on an archaeological trip. Elio is increasingly drawn to Oliver, even sneaking to Oliver’s room to smell his clothing. Elio eventually confesses his feelings to Oliver, who is awestruck and tells him they cannot discuss such things. Later, in a secluded spot, the two kiss for the first time. Oliver is reluctant to take things further and they do not speak for several days.
Elio goes on a date with Marzia and the two have sex. Elio leaves a note for Oliver to end their silence. Oliver writes back, asking Elio to meet him at midnight. Elio agrees and they sleep together for the first time. In the immediate aftermath, Oliver says to Elio, “Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.” The morning after, Elio cries about how little time he and Oliver have left together. Marzia confronts Elio after not hearing from him for three days. He offers a cold response, leaving her heartbroken.
As the end of Oliver’s stay approaches, he and Elio both find themselves overcome by uncertainty and longing. Elio’s parents, who are privately aware of the bond between the two but do not address it openly, recommend he and Oliver visit Bergamo together before Oliver returns home to the U.S. They spend three romantic days together.
Elio, heartbroken after Oliver’s departure, calls his mother and asks her to pick him up from the train station and take him home. Marzia is sympathetic to Elio’s feelings and says she wants to remain friends. Elio’s father, observing his deep sadness, tells him he was aware of his relationship with Oliver and confesses to almost having had a similar relationship in his own youth. He urges Elio to learn from his grief and grow, instead of just moving on too quickly.
During Hanukkah, Oliver calls Elio’s family to tell them he is engaged to be married to a woman he has been seeing for a few years. An upset Elio calls Oliver by his name and Oliver responds with his; Oliver also mentions that he remembers everything. After the call, Elio sits down by the fireplace and stares into the flames, tearfully reminiscing, as his parents and the house staff prepare a holiday dinner.
Call Me by Your Name (2017) Box office
Call Me by Your Name grossed $18.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $23.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $41.9 million against a production budget of $3.4 million. The film was Sony Pictures Classics’ third-highest-grossing release of 2017.
In the United States, Call Me by Your Name began its limited run on November 24, 2017, at The Paris Theater and Union Square Theatre in New York City, and the ArcLight Hollywood and Landmark Theater in Los Angeles. The film made $404,874 in its opening weekend—a per-theater average of $101,219. It was the highest average of 2017—the biggest since the opening of La La Land the previous December —and had the best per-screen opening for a gay romance film since Brokeback Mountain (2005).
In its second weekend, the film grossed $281,288,with an “excellent” per-screen average of $70,320.The film expanded to nine theaters in its third weekend, grossing $291,101 for a “solid” $32,345 per-theater average.It earned $491,933 from 30 theaters in its fourth weekend, averaging $16,398.
The film expanded to 114 theaters in its fifth week and grossed $850,736, averaging $7,463 per screen. It crossed $6 million in its seventh weekend, earning $758,726 from 115 locations. It grossed $715,559 from 174 theaters in its eighth weekend, averaging $4,185 per screen.
In the film’s nationwide release week—its ninth weekend overall—the film grossed $1.4 million from 815 theaters, an under-performance compared to “some of its competition with similar theater counts,” according to Deadline Hollywood. The following weekend, after the announcement of its four Oscar nominations, the film’s revenues dropped 6 percent to $1.3 million.
With a total gross revenue of $9,370,359 by the week of January 23, 2018, Call Me by Your Name was the second-lowest-grossing film among that year’s Best Picture nominees. However, the online ticketing company Fandango reported that the film had experienced a 56 percent increase in ticket sales through its service since its Best Picture nomination was announced.
Regarding the film’s “lagging” box-office performance, Tom Brueggemann of IndieWire commented that Sony Picture Classic “has done an able job so far”, and said “at some point the film and the reaction to it is something no distributor can overcome”. It grossed $919,926, averaging $1,006, from 914 theaters during the Oscar weekend, and went on to earn $304,228 from 309 theaters in its sixteenth weekend.
Call Me by Your Name opened at number seven in Italy with €781,000 and obtained the best per-theater average of the week. It made €49,170 on February 6 and reached €2 million by the end of the week. It re-entered at number 10 on March 13 by making another €13,731 at the box office.as of July 6, 2018, the film had grossed $3,925,137 in Italy.It attracted 17,152 viewers in France on its first day of screening, with an “excellent” per-theater average of 184 entries.
It went on to attract 108,500 viewers in the opening weekend, earning 1,167 viewings—the second-best average that week —and 238,124 viewers in its third weekend. as of April 17, 2018, the film had grossed $2,652,781 in France. In the United Kingdom, the film earned £231,995 ($306,000) from 112 screens in its opening weekend, including £4,000 from previews. After ten days, it had made £568,000 ($745,000), before reaching the $1 million mark (£767,000) in its third weekend. as of May 21, 2018, the film had grossed $2,372,382 in the United Kingdom.
Call Me by Your Name (2017) Critical Response
At its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Call Me by Your Name received a standing ovation. When it screened at Alice Tully Hall as part of the New York Film Festival, it received a ten-minute ovation, the longest in the festival’s history. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 94% based on 363 reviews, with an average rating of 8.7/10.
The website’s critical consensus reads, “Call Me by Your Name offers a melancholy, powerfully affecting portrait of first love, empathetically acted by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer.” It was the best-reviewed limited release and the second-best-reviewed romance film of 2017 on the site. On Metacritic, the film has an average weighted score of 93 out of 100, based on 53 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”. It was the year’s fifth-best rated film on Metacritic.
Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Boyd van Hoeij described Call Me by Your Name as an “extremely sensual … intimate and piercingly honest” adaptation of Aciman’s novel and called Chalamet’s performance “the true breakout of the film”. Peter Debruge of Variety believed the film “advances the canon of gay cinema” by portraying “a story of first love … that transcends the same-sex dynamic of its central couple”.
He compared Guadagnino’s “sensual” direction with the films of Pedro Almodóvar and François Ozon, and put Call Me by Your Name “on par with the best of their work”. David Ehrlich of IndieWire also praised Guadagnino’s directing, which he said helped the film “match the artistry and empathy” of Carol (2015) and Moonlight (2016).
Sam Adams of the BBC wrote that Stuhlbarg’s performance “puts a frame around the movie’s painting and opens up avenues we may not have thought to explore”, and called it “one of his finest” to date. He extolled the film as one of “many movies that have so successfully appealed to both the intellectual and the erotic since the heydays of Patrice Chéreau and André Téchiné”.
Ty Burr of The Boston Globe gave the film three-and-a-half stars, commended the director for “broaden[ing] his embrace of humanity while hitting new heights of cinematic bliss” and said that the film “may be a fantasy but it’s one that’s lovely and wise.” David Morgan of CBS praised the cinematography, production design and costuming for “making a summer in the 1980s palpably alive again.” He found Stuhlbarg’s character “the most forward-thinking parent in movie history”.
Richard Lawson wrote that Guadagnino’s adaptation “was made with real love, with good intentions, with a clarity of heart and purposeful, unpretentious intellect” and hailed it as a “modern gay classic” in his Vanity Fair review. Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips was pleased by the “wonderfully paradoxical” visual interests from the director and said Stevens’s songs “work like magic on your sympathies regarding Elio’s emotional awakening.” He praised Hammer’s performance as “some of the most easy-breathing and relaxed best work of his career.”
The Economist noted the tension “between pain and pleasure” in the film and praised Chalamet, saying that he “evokes so many shades of humanity, portraying a path of youthful self-discovery that is more raw, unhinged, and ultimately honest than many actors could manage”. Kate Taylor of The Globe and Mail, who gave the film two-and-a-half stars, also enjoyed Chalamet’s effort in capturing “first love and its inevitable heartbreak” and said the “multilingual, almost-pre-AIDS idyll does not stretch credulity … but it can try the patience”.
Ken Eisner of The Georgia Straight said that “Guadagnino’s lyrical excesses … can alternate wildly between the poetically incisive and the indulgently preposterous.” In a negative review, Kyle Turner of Paste wrote, “The details of the film are too small for anyone, perhaps particularly a queer person, to see,” a visual distance that “suggests that the film, in the beginning, is as terrified as Elio initially is.
It never gets over that hesitation.” Armond White of Out called the movie “craven commercialism” and a “super-bourgeois fantasy” that “exploit[s] the queer audience’s romantic needs by packaging them and falsifying them.”
Call Me by Your Name (2017) Accolades
The National Board of Review and the American Film Institute selected Call Me by Your Name as one of the top 10 films of the year.At the 90th Academy Awards, it was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Chalamet), Best Original Song (“Mystery of Love”), and Best Adapted Screenplay, winning the latter.
Chalamet became the third-youngest Best Actor nominee and the youngest nominee since 1939, and Ivory became the oldest winner in any competitive category. The film received four nominations at the 71st British Academy Film Awards, including Best Film and Best Direction, and won Best Adapted Screenplay for Ivory. At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, it was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for Chalamet and Best Supporting Actor for Hammer.
The film received eight nominations at the 23rd Critics’ Choice Awards; Ivory won Best Adapted Screenplay. The film led the 33rd Independent Spirit Awards with six nominations, winning Best Male Lead for Chalamet and Best Cinematography for Mukdeeprom. At the 24th Screen Actors Guild Awards, Chalamet received a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. The film won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release at its 29th ceremony.
In Italy, Fasano won Best Editing at the 73rd Nastro d’Argento Awards and 33rd Golden Ciak Awards. The National Board of Review, the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the Hollywood Film Awards each awarded Chalamet with their Breakout Actor Awards.
In a series of articles regarding the best of the 2010s in film, IndieWire ranked Call Me by Your Name as the 18th best film of the decade and Chalamet’s performance as the 39th best acting performance. Consequence of Sound ranked the film as the 23rd best of the decade, Rolling Stone ranked it 40th and Little White Lies ranked it 47th.
Call Me by Your Name (2017) Movie Info
Rating:R (Sexual Content|Nudity|Some Language)
Genre:Romance, Drama, Lgbtq+
Producer:Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges, Rodrigo Teixeira, Marco Morabito
Writer:James Ivory, Luca Guadagnino, Walter Fasano
Release Date (Theaters):Wide
Release Date (Streaming):
Box Office (Gross USA):$18.0M
Distributor:Sony Pictures Classics
Sound Mix:Dolby Digital
Aspect Ratio:Flat (1.85:1)
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