Call Me By Your Name reviews

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:18 am

Uri wrote:
And on a more personal note, UAADB wise – I was kind of hoping for Elio not to go back home after bidding goodbye to Oliver and instead stay in Bergamo, roaming the beautiful streets of La Città Alta, bumping into a certain beautiful, lovely local boy who just celebrated his 14th birthday and in the spirit of the film, could also have a name game with Elio. The (happy) End.



The local boy isn't 14 anymore today - or even 24... - so, I'm afraid, not that beautiful anymore :D ... But still here and still living in the city the movie ends in. I didn't know that it had been partly shot in my hometown (though of course I knew that the main shooting took place in a city 15-20 minutes from Bergamo). Another good reason to see it when it's finally shown in Italy (in 2 weeks I think).

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Uri » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:19 am

Yesterday I accidently saw CMBYN. I was checking it on Google, and there was a suggestion to watch it online, and voilà, there I was, seeing this relatively good quality leaked screener. I’m very ashamed of myself and I will pay the full price of the ticket and watch it on the big screen once it open here in a few weeks time. I’m sure a great deal of the splendor of the film was lost and maybe some of the emotional impact too and hopefully I will get it all the second time around.

Nice. Pleasantly moving along, elegant, well acted. Everything one might expect from a well meaning, benevolent bourgeois piece. But also very familiar. I saw dozens of French, Italian, Spanish, Scandinavian vacances films – it’s practically a specific genré in European Cinema – with depictions of bittersweet budding romances – straight and gay (it’s a very popular setting for gay themed films) - in the thick, static, lazy late summer air and kind of exteritorial feel, and this one fits rather nicely – the novelty factor seems to be that the principal characters are Americans, alas very Europeanized ones. And I’m not saying it’s not an intelligent and even quite intriguing at times – it will be interesting to see it again being fully aware from the beginning that the father is a closeted case for example – the way Oliver fits into the fabric of this family is more telling knowing it.

And as I said, I was constantly aware of how well known narrative patterns were (rather well and not off-puttingly, mind you) often used here. We, Oscar scholars, might be aware of the big, late film speech about love and acceptance which clinched Spencer Tracy his last nomination (admittedly, he also died and one truly hope Stuhlbarg has many years and films ahead of him), and that exact same telephone call won the Oscar for Luise Rainer - why shouldn’t Chalamet win too (and for doing it in a much subtler natural way, I might add). But even more so, I was reminded of why whenever I see a gay themed film I’m reminded of that old saying about Esther Williams – wet she’s a star. Not that I’m complaining, but was there ever one without a pond, a creek, a swimming pool or the sea for the minimally clad protagonists to dip in? Thank God they do have bathtubs in Yorkshire so we could have God’s Own Country (a superior film, btw).

And on a more personal note, UAADB wise – I was kind of hoping for Elio not to go back home after bidding goodbye to Oliver and instead stay in Bergamo, roaming the beautiful streets of La Città Alta, bumping into a certain beautiful, lovely local boy who just celebrated his 14th birthday and in the spirit of the film, could also have a name game with Elio. The (happy) End.

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:40 am

Mister Tee wrote: I looked It up, and the Italian film upon which it’s based was listed as crime thriller, which I guess makes sense


It was actually a French moivie, La Piscine, but yes, very successful at the time in Italy too. I'd rather call it a drama with crime elements in it, and while not perfect either, it's certainly better than its Italian remake.

Interesting review by the way. I like it when doubts are openly and honestly exposed.

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:05 pm

Let me start by reviewing my track record with Guadagnino:

My reaction to I Am Love was, I guess, not dissimilar to Italiano’s, though I put it in far more positive terms than he: I thought Guadagnino showed all the gifts to make a major film – especially an incredibly sensual eye -- but he didn’t have a story that measured up to his talents, which made the whole thing feel a bit empty at the core.

Apparently I’m the only one here who didn’t hate A Bigger Splash. I thought the film’s first half was mesmerizing – again, I felt all my senses engaged in a visceral way. But the story took a turn into melodrama for which I felt utterly unprepared. I looked It up, and the Italian film upon which it’s based was listed as crime thriller, which I guess makes sense -- but is definitely not what the first hour of A Bigger Splash promised. So, for the second time, I felt Guadagnino’s plotting had failed to measure up to his film-making abilities. But I still couldn’t ignore how those abilities engaged me, made me await his next effort.

Thus, during this near-year I’ve been hearing Call Me by Your Name so highly praised, I’ve assumed that he’d finally found the perfect story to marry to his outsized talent, and created the movie I’d hoped he could make. But that’s not what I found when I saw it. I’m not saying none of his talent is on display – the foods and fruits (even beyond the notorious peach) are so vivid you can almost taste them, and the lazy summer air can be felt from the screen. In terms of atmosphere, the film is a great success. But I’d say it’s a quiet success. This film is less robust, more limited than I’d expected; the work of someone with a different, simpler sort of talent. Perhaps it’s because I just watched the film again in the past six months (after many years), but I found myself reminded here of Claire’s Knee – another movie about summertime in the European countryside, with hormonal late teens being observed by their elders. Claire’s Knee is a good movie, but a delicate one, and I’d put much of Call Me by Your Name into the same category. It’s a small story about an event in some ways mundane – a burgeoning love, albeit a same-sex one. The relationship is explored sensitively and fully, and the film is fleshed out with novelistic detail. But the story never hits a plot crescendo – never becomes a bigger/grander one. It’s just the story of that relationship. Which is not nothing, but it’s less than what I thought Guadagnino would provide.

Does this make the film a disappointment? Well, I have to say I left the theatre thinking, “I wasn’t wowed” – though I liked many things about the film, it wasn’t that grand work I’d hoped for, nor the one I thought I’d been promised. But I have to add that the film has stuck with me, resonated; that there are individual elements and moments in it I truly love; and that it did accumulate power into the last reel, up to and including the final moment. Scenes like the coming-out-while-walking-around-the-fountain work beautifully, both verbally and visually. Incidental characters (which is almost everyone beyond Elio and Oliver) contribute in tiny but precise ways. And the film builds to a climax shattering despite being relatively quiet. It’s a not inconsiderable piece of work.

One element about which I have no reservation is the Timothee Chalamet performance. Having seen Chalamet in Lady Bird, I expected a variation on the same character – a slightly arrogant, educated-and-proud-to-flaunt-it kid. But right from the start he offered something very different – a smart kid but one who’s deeply aware of and pained by how little he knows in certain areas. I felt like I could feel his nerve endings – not just in his understandably awkward initial scenes with Oliver, but in other areas, like his inability to apologize to Marzia, when he knows he’s betrayed her in precisely the ways she feared and feels horrible about it. Every moment of the performance felt fully vivid to me; his adolescent insecurities were almost palpable. And then he took the performance a step further forward, with his collapse into inconsolable sobbing in his mother’s car -- a scene of such loss of control I think it bears comparison to Hanks’ emotional breakdown at the end of Captain Phillips. And even after THAT, he gave us that final shot, where he conveyed every possible feeling/memory he had about the affair, one after the other, heartbreak and remembered joy in succession – summing up for us the entire journey he took over the course of the film. Truly breathtaking work – easily the best performance by an actor this year.

I still don’t know if I think Armie Hammer is an actor or an 8x10 glossy. He’s certainly right enough for the role of Oliver – he has to be the god-like creature who’d awaken all this in Elio – and he’s not bad in any way. But I can’t say I felt he gave a definitive performance. More like he filled the role perfectly well.

Michael Stuhlbarg, on the other hand… For most of the film, I’d thought, well, typical Stuhlbarg: contribute one little honest moment after another, but stay in the background and let others take focus. Even in those tiny gestures, he created a full character – a slightly awkward, borderline silly man (his aping of Oliver’s “Later” is close to cringe-worthy) with a stodgy but pleasing moral bearing (his lecture to Elio, about not making fun of Sonny and Cher, borders on stuffy, but you admire his conviction). Then, though, he gets the scene he’s long deserved, that beautifully written speech that shows us his love for his son, his fully humane life-outlook, but also, barely tamped down, his envy and regret over his own time having passed in disappointment. I know Stuhlbarg keeps missing nominations that Hammer’s getting, and maybe that’ll keep happening. But one thing about the Academy’s fabled older-skewing demographic: when they hear Stuhlbarg speak about how one day the body gets so old that no one wants to look at it, let alone get close to it…I think it’ll get them where they live. And they might come through for him.

So…what’s my bottom line? It’s a movie to which I’ve obviously given a good deal of thought. I guess you could say I’m ambivalent about it…but I think in a good way. Let’s say I rarely have this much enthusiasm about a movie that disappointed me. It’s obviously something to be seen.

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:44 pm

anonymous1980 wrote:
I love the Surfjan Stevens songs. But "Remember Me" from Coco is most definitely gonna take the Original Song Oscar. If you've seen the film, you know why.


I would assume something from The Greatest Showman — from reigning Oscar winners Pasek and Paul — will also contend strongly, in addition to the songs you both cite. Seems like there’s too much competition for anything to be a definite winner just yet (particularly in a category accustomed to insane nomination omissions.)

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby flipp525 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:35 pm

Correct, I have not seen Coco.
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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby anonymous1980 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:13 pm

flipp525 wrote:I don’t see how “Mystery of Love” loses the Oscar for Best Original Song at this point. It’s really wonderful.


You haven't seen Coco, I take it?

I love the Surfjan Stevens songs. But "Remember Me" from Coco is most definitely gonna take the Original Song Oscar. If you've seen the film, you know why.

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby flipp525 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:38 am

I highly recommend the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack. It has those gorgeous piano solos from Elio and the indelible Sufjan Stevens songs, but also those great ‘80s disco hits and The Psychodelic Furs moment when Oliver and Eli encounter the Italian people listening to music blasting from their car during their final sojourn.

I don’t see how “Mystery of Love” loses the Oscar for Best Original Song at this point. It’s really wonderful.
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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Reza » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:49 am

ITALIANO wrote:the politically-correct members of this board


Lol

Who invented this phrase? People in the United States are so obsessed by it, especially the younger generation who are now like the gestapo checking every movement and spoken word.

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:28 am

The Original BJ wrote:And also, which characters are we talking about? Isn't Elio an American with some Italian heritage? Mr. Perlman is American, right? And Oliver is not Italian.

...

For what it's worth, no one here has yet referred to this film as a masterpiece. But Italiano, I do think you will like the movie -- its sensibility, not just its setting, is very European, and it's far superior to A Bigger Splash -- though I think you may fault it for its relative lack of sex.


Ok then - I thought one of the two main characters was Italian. So all the Italian characters are played by Italians AND speak Italian in the movie. Well, then I guess it's ok. Because I think all the Americans here would - rightly - find it absurd if Americans were played in a movie by Italians speaking Italian. Such things used to happen decades ago - today it would be ridiculous. There is a degree of realism which can't be ignored.

I certainly hope I will like this movie, Original BJ. I can't deny that I am always glad when films set in my country are successful abroad. Plus, in this case it's Northern Italy which - except, of course, for Venice, Portofino and lake Como - hasn't been portrayed as often as its Southern counterpart in international productions. (Though Guadagnino previous Oscar-nominated movie, I Am Love, was shot in Milan).

I am VERY curious. The Italian press has always treated Guadagnino with contempt, and his movies have been all destroyed by critics and ignored by the public here. The fact that he was taken so seriously in America only made things worse for him in his native land. And I must admit that, while I am never one who follows the majority's ideas (as even a certain recent discussion on this board can prove...) I have always found his efforts quite empty - beautiful to look at but painfully obvious. I am ready to change my mind though.

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:03 am

And also, which characters are we talking about? Isn't Elio an American with some Italian heritage? Mr. Perlman is American, right? And Oliver is not Italian.

flipp, I would agree with you that Hammer in support would not be as egregious as Rooney Mara...but I'm not sure that should be the bar I'd want to use. Hammer is basically in the Blanchett in Carol role -- the older, more experienced half of the romance -- and I would give the argument that Blanchett is supporting because the film is Therese's story the side-eye. (Even though, yes, that was more prominently Therese's story just like this is Elio's story.)

For what it's worth, no one here has yet referred to this film as a masterpiece. But Italiano, I do think you will like the movie -- its sensibility, not just its setting, is very European, and it's far superior to A Bigger Splash -- though I think you may fault it for its relative lack of sex.

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Okri » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:30 pm

ITALIANO wrote:Don't get me wrong - I HOPE this is the masterpiece people here say it is. We - and cinema - need masterpieces. Yet... Well, the director's previous efforts aren't exactly encouraging (did anyone here see A Bigger Splash?), and - can I be honest? - all these Italian characters played by foreigners, last seen in Jean Negulesco's infamous Jessica (1962), is such a dreadful concept that I am surprised none of the politically-correct members of this board seem to notice.

It will be probably torn to pieces here in Italy. But it has been mostly shot half-an-hour from where I live, in places I know well and love, so I still look forward to seeing it.


a) I disliked A Bigger Splash.

b) Can you articulate why it bothers you to have Italian characters played by non-Italians?

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:55 pm

Don't get me wrong - I HOPE this is the masterpiece people here say it is. We - and cinema - need masterpieces. Yet... Well, the director's previous efforts aren't exactly encouraging (did anyone here see A Bigger Splash?), and - can I be honest? - all these Italian characters played by foreigners, last seen in Jean Negulesco's infamous Jessica (1962), is such a dreadful concept that I am surprised none of the politically-correct members of this board seem to notice.

It will be probably torn to pieces here in Italy. But it has been mostly shot half-an-hour from where I live, in places I know well and love, so I still look forward to seeing it.

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby flipp525 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:23 pm

I need to collect my thoughts and post something more substantial later (I’m processing it over a nice glass of champagne and some French onion soup at the Plaza - yes, I’m being a total NYC tourist), but I have to say that this movie was just like a perfect meal. I luxuriated in its many sensualities like no film in recent memory. Timothee Chalamet is so affecting. A very natural style of acting. Almost like a new James Dean. At times, I felt like I was watching a star being born on the screen.

And I don’t see how Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg don’t both get nominated for Best Supporting Actor. The former gives such a charming, lived-in performance and the latter has that exquisite monologue at the end. And he really does just nail it. Just a lovely, lovely film. I walked away heartbroken, but happy if that makes sense.

I agree with BJ that there’s little reason Hammer shouldn’t be considered a co-lead in this (although, I don’t find his placement in support as egregious as someone like Rooney Mara in Carol). The film is absolutely Chalamet’s story with Hammer disappearing from the scene here and there. Stuhlbarg - who I’ve admired more and more recently - gives a classic supporting performance.

Amira Casar, playing Elio’s mother, is quite wonderful, it needs to be said. She did a lot with little dialogue and lots of small nuanced looks. She also totally looks like she could be Chalamet’s actual mother so good casting there.

And, as a big fan of the book, I thought they pulled off the peach scene very well!
Last edited by flipp525 on Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:48 pm

It's very possible that the nightmarish state of the world at the moment is causing me to simply be happy that movies exist at all, but I've been feeling pretty sunny toward most of this year's releases. (Cut to: Darkest Hour sweeping the Oscars). Call Me By Your Name is another very fine entry in this year's race, and given that I wasn't that wild about A Bigger Splash, I was pleased to see Luca Guadagnino come closer to fulfilling the promise he showed with I Am Love.

At the Q&A after my screening, Variety critic Peter Debruge commented that the movie doesn't deserve to be pigeonholed in the "gay movie" box, which struck me as both a problematic comment in general ("pigeonholing is only for movies like BPM!"), but also one that just misreads a lot of what the film does well. In the same way that Lady Bird brings out specifically feminine elements in its coming of age story, Call Me By Your Name is not just a romance that HAPPENS to be between two men, but one whose details just wouldn't make sense if one of the characters were female. One way the film does this effectively is by contrasting the relationships Elio and Oliver have with the young women in their lives with the bond they have with each other -- they are both perfectly happy to showcase, even flaunt, their heterosexual relationships in public, and talk openly about sex with women. But the relationship the two of them share is based on a fairly drawn-out push-and-pull where both of them seem to be testing the romantic waters with the other one, while not wanting each other to catch on too quickly for fear the attraction might not be reciprocal, and attempting to do much of this in public without letting the rest of the world know what's up. This movie is almost a direct response to those who felt like the men in Brokeback Mountain jumped too quickly into their relationship -- Call Me By Your Name really takes its time getting these guys to a place where they feel comfortable opening up to each other. (That said, the scene where they do essentially out themselves to one another feels reliant on quite a bit of very coded language -- I'm not sure I totally bought they both would understand what the other was talking about.)

There are also a lot of nice beats where the characters have to navigate their trepidation over being outed in subtle ways, and I liked that so many of these moments were played in a manner that suggests this is just something both of them have instinctively learned to do, rather than conscious attempts at covering. Details like Elio boasting at breakfast that he almost had sex (then quickly clarifying who with), Elio's attempt to conceal his dejection when his father asks Oliver to move to the front of the car, Oliver's response to the slideshow of statues with perfectly sculpted male bodies, Elio kissing everyone around the table but Oliver, Elio's reaction to his mom telling him how much Oliver likes him, Elio refusing to offer to go to town with Oliver but then secretly going anyway, and plenty of others, create a great portrait of the challenge two young men have in keeping their public profiles separate from their private lives.

It's also refreshing to see this fear and uneasiness operate in an environment where it doesn't genuinely seem like disaster is going to befall either man if they are uncovered. Elio's parents have their gay friends over to dinner, and I doubt Elio would think his parents would react poorly to him coming out. Whether or not they'd want him sleeping with his father's student might be a different story, but they're generally supportive of the two men spending so much time together. The central conflict in the story, then, becomes one of time -- the fact that this one summer they have together will inevitably end, and both are at such different places in their lives (despite not being separated by all that many years) that a future beyond that seems very uncertain. All of this builds to a finale that I found very moving, and which I assume will break a lot of hearts among audiences.

For a film that isn't directed with a ton of flash, I found a lot of Guadagnino and his cinematographer's framing and staging of shots to be quite elegant. The sequences in the city stage the characters against the architecture in some really pleasing ways, the camera moves and focus racks are sparingly but effectively used, and the shot at the train station is one of those beautifully crafted images that perfectly conveys the emotion of that moment through the visuals alone. I also found the music very pleasing -- the songs, the orchestral tracks, even Elio's piano contributions.

Although I think both lead actors (A-HEM!) are appealing in their roles, I can't say I think either gives a great-great performance, mostly because their characters are so taciturn, they most of the film underplaying everything. In fact, for the bulk of the movie I thought Chalamet would simply be a desperation nominee -- carried along simply by the popularity of his movie -- but then at the end he has a series of scenes (his beautifully played last scene with Hammer, his conversation with his dad, the phone call, his final reaction shot) that contribute to a lot of the film's emotional power, even though I still don't think he'd contend in a stronger Best Actor year. Stuhlbarg has the kind of role where you spend most of the film assuming a big scene has to be coming...and then he gets a beautifully written monologue that he just nails, that sums up a lot of what the movie is about. (It reminded me of a late-film monologue in another Ivory film: Denholm Elliott's words of wisdom to Helena Bonham Carter in A Room With a View).

We're going to be subjected to an endless amount of peach jokes at this year's award shows, right?


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