November 14, 2019
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Call Me By Your Name is absolutely gorgeous,
with its lush and vivid cinematography being second only to, what I believe, is the most
beautiful movie ever made – this year’s Blade Runner 2049. Call Me By Your Name has been receiving amazing
reviews for quite a while now, since it made its debut at Sundance in January this year. Critics and general audiences have been praising
its subtle but deeply emotional and effective story of two young people falling in love
at the backdrop of a sun-soaked northern italian setting. The acting is excellent, especially Armie
Hammer, who has had a rocky career to say the least. There are also a lot of long and one takes,
which I love in this age of cinema as we don’t get enough one takes in movies anymore. And these long takes are just of people doing
random things – living, soaking in this picturesque utopia. But having said all of this, and acknowledging
that Call Me By Your Name is most definitely one of the best movies of 2017 (it will get
nominated for Best Picture, you can bet your money on it) for me the standout, best part
of this film is just how vital the setting is to the plot and how director Luca Guadagino
incorporates the setting into the main plot of the movie, the growing, intimate love story
between Elio and Oliver, our two main characters. Northern Italy, the italian countryside, and
the holiday home the movie takes place in are basically major characters. They have personalities, they have huge influences
on the people living there, much like real life. Guadagino focuses so much attention on every
little detail in this countryside, from the slightly dirty rivers the characters constantly
swim in, to the insects that fly into frame during close-ups as if right on q, to the
small quaint bars both Elio and Oliver go to sometimes when they hang out, to the locals
who are so friendly and quiet themselves. At one point in the movie, and this is how
much the film and Guadagino take their time telling this love story – Elio and Oliver
go on a bike a ride and stop by an older woman and ask her for two glasses of water. Like it’s a normal everyday occurrence in
this italian countryside – the film was shot in the small village of crema, lombardy – she
instantly goes inside her home and gives them water. It was such a small scene and exchange, but
it stayed with me long after the credits rolled because it is just one of many scenes that
expertly breathes life into this setting. It’s transformative, majestic, charming,
and brings Elio and Oliver that much closer to each other. I can’t remember the last time I was this
in love with a place and time – the film takes place in 1983, by the way. Another amazing, subtle, but highly effective
thing Guadagino does is he includes several different languages throughout the film. Elio speaks italian and english in the same
sentence quite often, and there are plenty of subtitles to read throughout the film’s
2 and a half hour runtime. It’s just another extra filmmaking choice
that goes a long way in turning this small village into a place you so desperately want
to travel to and never leave. And it’s very, very important that Guadagino
allows the audience to get to intimately know and understand this village because of the
effect it has on its main characters and the growing love between elio and oliver. As briefly mentioned, It sort of awakens their
love for one another and especially Elio’s sexual desires, who’s 17 in the movie and
is just starting to understand and acknowledge these types of strong feelings. Heck, without spoiling much, even a piece
of fruit plays a huge role in Elio’s sexual maturity. The italian countryside is major conduit in
oliver and elio’s sexual awakenings. The costume design in the film, like the setting,
has this same effect as well, as all of the characters wear very little clothing in the
summertime. Elio, for the most part, walks around only
in his swimming trunks. Like the rest of the film this choice of clothing
is simple, subtle, both hard to miss and difficult to notice, but incredibly impactful. And the soundtrack is so so good. There are a few original tracks from Sufjan
Stevens that are heartbreaking and Guadagino uses music from the likes of John Adams and
Ryuicihi Sakamoto, and they also play an effect on the story that’s taking place here. So, I guess you can say I love this movie,
especially the way Guadagino captures the five senses here making you feel a part of
this intimate love story. Is it my favorite movie of the year so far? No, as I think Blade Runner 2049 still takes
that number one spot. And Call Me By Your Name is definitely not
for everyone because, like 2049, it’s very slow-paced and subtle. It demands your focus, your attention in order
to catch every detail. It’s both heartbreaking and hopeful, and
undoubtedly a beautiful piece of filmmaking.

Robin Kshlerin