"Parce que c'était lui, parce que c'était moi"
Rushing into a movie after it has already started sounds like the opposite of ideal movie watching to me, but you do what you gotta do when you get a free standby ticket for being a film festival volunteer. There are very few exceptions I would do this for and Call Me By Your Name is one of them. And since I walked into the theatre just having read the book a week ago, I knew the small bit I had missed and everything that was to come. So BOY was I giddy! I was immediately overcome by Luca Guadagnino effortlessly adapting Andre Aciman's tour de force novel into a beautiful escape to Mediterranean Italy.
For a quick recap (check out my previous post), Oliver, an American writer played by Armie Hammer, is invited to Italy for six weeks in order to work on his Ph.D. thesis with an impeccably cultured host family. What develops over the coming weeks is encased in the subtlest of flirting: a gentle but firm touch sending goosebumps down Elio's spine (and man parts), a glance of each other's glistening bodies at the pool, and each man teasing the other by kissing or talking about his ~almost~ sexual encounter with a girl in public. While there's no big crescendo with thick palpable sexual tension in the air between the two men, Elio's explosion (figuratively and literally) in a ripe ball of emotions is the catalyst for their raw, blossoming relationship. [Side note: I highly recommend reading the book to get a better insight into how furiously Elio's mind is overworking being around Oliver.]Standing ovation for Call Me By Your Name. And so so so so so deserved. #NYFF— Nick Ruhrkraut (@sauerkraut27) October 4, 2017
Timothee, beyond talented at the age of 21, makes every scene an effortless interaction by communicating so much emotion in just one look. The final shot alone, which runs the length of the credits in one take, count stand as his reel by itself. He transforms into three or four emotional states after realizing the anguish of heartbreak, thus broadening Elio's complexity even more. Expect a Best Actor Oscar nom for Tim along with Direction for Luca, Costume Design for Giulia Piersanti, and Cinematography for Sayombhu Mukdeeprom.
And as a side note, the fashion in the film is to DIE for. I will definitely be contacting the costume designer to buy one of everything that Elio wore: his bracelet, bathing suits, shirts, even Oliver's shorts. I. Need. That. Floral. Shirt.!"Timothée had the intelligence, ambition, elegance to play Elio..." -Luca #CMBYN— Nick Ruhrkraut (@sauerkraut27) October 4, 2017
From the perspective of a gay man, it is easier to understand this less as a sexual study and more of a coming of age tale for Elio. More commonly that I initially imagined, I heard friends recounting homoerotic curiosities growing up similar to that of Elio and Oliver. In a world that is finally becoming more understanding of the fluidity of sexual identity, not everything has to be black or white or stay the same way forever. Elio is discovering different parts of himself through his separate attractions to Oliver and Marzia. By the end of the summer, relationships develop and we know Oliver has to leave. So it finally makes sense that Luca would leave out the final future scenes of the novel: to keep ambiguous and unclear if Elio will eventually end up with a male or female partner. This may give hope to the hopeless romantics who think maybe, maybe someday the two men could rekindle their summer love. In the book (SPOILERS), Elio remains single for over thirty more years, more or less waiting for Oliver. If their summer love made Elio realize that he was gay doesn't necessarily need to be made known.Timothée/Elio confirms that playing the piano is the most appealing and sensual talent anyone can master #CMBYN— Nick Ruhrkraut (@sauerkraut27) October 4, 2017
Luca always ends his films with a memorable sting. I Am Love still stands as my favorite ending of a film ever. Even though it does feel long at 132 minutes, CMBYN ends (oh how I wish it wouldn't end) on a different note than throughout the majority of the film. Also possibly why Luca decided not to play out the novel's ending was to make Elio's talk with his father a more significant scene of finality. "[Oliver] was good, and you were both lucky to have found each other, because you too are good" (Aciman 223). As someone struggling with his or her sexuality or just devastated by a breakup, Mr. Perlman's (Michael Stuhlbarg) words provide a profoundly accurate and emotionally comforting means to accepting grief, heartbreak, and helplessness. "Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we'd want to be forgotten is no better...But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything- what a waste!...I don't envy the pain. But I envy you the pain" (224-5). I longed to hear my dad utter these words of support, knowing that he would accept every part of my true self. Consequently, never having felt this is probably why I melted into a puddle (and wrinkled the pages while reading) during these humbling moments. The world would be a better place today if it had more Mr. P's in it.
In the end, it isn't perfect. I can't even recount one instance where the movie adaptation was better than the book. For what the novel accomplishes, the film seems slightly too long and omits some of the most emotional (and sensual) moments. But Luca made it perfect in its own way and he embodied in this Italian escape from reality the most heartwarming love story 2017 needs.
1/2 cup oats
1 scoop whey protein powder (match flavor to fruit or nut butter additions)
1/4 cup strawberries, blueberries, banana and/or peanut/almond butter
1 scoop chia seeds
1/2 cup almond milk (to desired consistency)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Mix ingredients and leave in fridge overnight. Either eat as is or blend for a morning drink on-the-go!