Call Me by Your Name
- James Mottram
- 23 October 2017
Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet excel in Luca Guadagnino's intoxicating romance
A coming-of-age love story, sensitively and sensuously hewn, Luca Guadagnino's latest film is a triumph. Following his hyper-stylised marital drama I Am Love and the more loose-limbed remake A Bigger Splash, this adaptation of André Aciman's novel is yet another change of gear. Featuring a career-best performance from Armie Hammer and a career-making one from Timothée Chalamet, it's a dreamily evocative piece that transports the viewer to rural Italy for an intimate summer of love.
Set in 1983, the story begins as Hammer's Oliver arrives at the Perlman residence in Lombardy, a well-appointed country palazzo, where he will spend the warm summer months as intern to the family's patriarch (Michael Stuhlbarg), a professor specialising in Greco-Roman sculpture. Oliver takes up residence in the bedroom belonging to the family's 17-year-old son, Elio (Chalamet), who moves into the storage room next door. Slowly but surely they form a strong bond, which goes beyond friendship as feelings begin to flourish.
With a screenplay by veteran filmmaker James Ivory, this is a beautifully written, almost bashful piece, that watches events cautiously from Elio's point-of-view, as he observes and gradually falls for the handsome twentysomething. Chalamet, who previously came to attention in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, is almost painful to behold at times, so unbearable is it to see this young man struggling with his heightened emotions.
Yet this is more than simply a tale of teen angst. Seasoned with ideas and intellect, it's a cultured work that jettisons the usual patronising adult-adolescent barriers. Treating its characters and audiences with respect, it presents a languid world where innocence and experience mix and, frankly, it's intoxicating. With the love scenes reserved but ripe, Guadagnino and his team get every creative decision just right. The result is one of the year's best films.
General release from Fri 27 Oct.