Call Me by Your Name ~ A Capsule Movie Review by Allen Kopp
Lanky, dark-haired Elio is not your usual seventeen-year-old boy. He reads books, plays the piano beautifully, transcribes music and swims in the river. Elio’s father is a professor, an American, and his mother is Italian. They are a bookish, sophisticated, enlightened family. At their beautiful Northern Italian home, they host a visiting academic during the summer. In the summer of 1983, that person is a twenty-four-year-old American man named Oliver.
Oliver is handsome and seems completely comfortable with himself, arrogant in a way. Everybody likes him because he’s affable and appealing. Elio is determined to not like Oliver at first, trying to appear disinterested, but the two of them begin spending a lot of time bicycling around the beautiful Italian countryside and Elio is increasingly drawn to Oliver in a way that is, it seems, new to him. If you are averse to a story about a same-sex relationship, this is probably where you’d better tune out.
At first Oliver doesn’t want to get involved with Elio because Elio is so young, but his resolve is soon weakened when Elio, not bothered by shyness, makes it obvious exactly what he is interested in. If anybody does any seducing, it’s Elio who seduces Oliver. Elio’s parents soon guess what is going on between Elio and Oliver and don’t mind very much. As Oliver tells Elio, “You are so lucky. My father would have carted me off to the nearest correctional facility.” If they were in the United States, in states where the age of legal sexual consent is eighteen, I’m afraid Oliver might spend the next thirty years in prison.
Call Me by Your Name is based on a novel by André Aciman. It’s a coming-of-age story where the young male protagonist has his heart broken. It’s usually a woman or girl who brings about the breaking heart, but in this case it’s another man. The movie version of the book, which I read earlier this year, is sophisticated, intelligent, thoughtful and beautifully made, flowing seamlessly from beginning to end. Whether or not you can accept and enjoy the story of a love affair between a seventeen-year-old boy and a twenty-four-year-old man is up to you. It might help you to know that the sex scenes are not graphic by today’s standards. My eighty-seven-year-old mother, however, would swear she’s watching porn.
Copyright © 2017 by Allen Kopp