Call Me By Your Name reviews

The Original BJ
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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:23 am

I think one thing that could have been clarified to assuage Sabin's issue is more exploration of what Oliver sees in Elio (i.e. what this hunk sees in this little boy, because that's definitely what it plays like.) There's a degree to which the answer is implicit in the era -- I imagine Oliver's degree of outness in his own life is pretty minimal, and perhaps even his own same-sex encounters might be pretty few in number, so stumbling on Elio is a special find for him. There are things you have to imagine Elio would be curious to know about Oliver -- have you done this before? how often? -- but the film doesn't really explore them, and those answers might have provided a bit more insight into Hammer's character. (Were this movie taking place in 2017, obviously certain elements would be different, but I'd honestly find it a lot less believable that a guy like Oliver would fall for Elio at all.)

Did other folks interpret Stuhlbarg's monologue the way Uri did -- that he's a closet case? It does seem like it would be open to interpretation -- the character's words are pretty vague -- but that wasn't necessarily my takeaway from his comments about not being able to embrace certain moments from earlier in his life.

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:29 pm

Isn't it though? Armie Hammer's character is almost treated as an idea, a summer fling who is a shade of reality so that he can be savored, but not utterly devastated by his departure.
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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:19 pm

It's been twenty-four hours since sitting down to watch 'Call Me By Your Name' and the film has seeped blissfully into my memory. However, there is one thing I can't quite shake from the film and that is Armie Hammer's character. I'm not sure his motivation and character comes fully into view. 'Call Me By Your Name' isn't really a film about characters, but rather ideas of characters. What the filmmakers are trying to do is an admittedly tricky balance and I think they mostly pull it off. I admire how much of the film remains unsaid but Hammer's character remains a sketch and when doing a film about a relationship where one of the partners is underage that's not necessarily a plus.
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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:28 am

My first thoughts during ‘Call Me By Your Name’ was “Is Armie Hammer gonna fuck this child?” Timothée Chalamet may not have been seventeen but Elio is seventeen going on twelve. Watching the first hour of ‘Call Me By Your Name’ was a strange experience. But as the film goes on, I realized what a masterstroke this choice was. Elio is childlike, but like all seventeen year olds, a puberty-crazed erotic creature. But he's no blank slate. He's a three-dimensional character who is is intermittently spastic, awkward, pretentious, like an alien trying to play James Dean. This allows for Luca Guadagnino to switch points of view between Elio and Oliver. And were Elio played any other way, the film would be robbed of its driving tension. Owen Gleiberman has described it as a spy movie where Elio and Oliver are forced to speak in code and find stolen moments. I think that's a great description of it...admittedly, there is hardly a cold war going on around these two.

Guadagnino does a fantastic job of capturing those languid, erotic summer days. There are a few stretches of dullness that right now I can't quite recall and that's probably fine. While it is a suspenseful film, it also operates wonderfully in the viewer's memory. It's very much a "Summer I'll Never Forget" film but it makes me realize why we need more of them and how good they can be. It's an ace production across the board. Beautifully shot. There are a few bum cuts here and there, but its editing scheme is inspired and creates a subjective reality that serves the film very well. Armie Hammer is good. My girlfriend remarked during the film "He's great, but I still think there are two of him." Michael Stuhlbarg gives his typically strong support leading up to that wonderful monologue with at least seven lines that destroy. I'm not sure if I feel comfortable calling him the best supporting actor of the year, but nobody got a better scene and he surely deserves an Oscar nomination. I feel the same way about Timothée Chalamet. I'm not sure if he gives the best performance by an actor this year but he had all the best moments, leading up to that remarkable final shot over which credits pour, Sufjan Stevens plays, and he allows the pain of his affair to pour over his face. This is a perfect ending for another very good film in this very good year for very good films.

Also, Damien would've loved this film. Some fifteen years ago, Damien sent me a "Summer I'll Never Forget" screenplay that he wrote that never got picked up about finding love and losing love. It was very kind and sweet and I thought of it after watching this film. So strange that he's been gone for so long...
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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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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