Call Me By Your Name reviews

anonymous1980
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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:41 pm

As someone who HAS read the book, there was nothing overtly explicit to necessarily indicate the father being closeted. In the book, he also says, "I may have come close but I never had what you had." That could be interpreted in many different ways. The scene with the statue slides wasn't in the book.

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:45 pm

Mister Tee wrote
Now, it's possible the novel was more explicit on this issue, or it's possible I (along with BJ) am being naive/obtuse, but I saw nothing in the film that definitively characterizes Stuhlbarg's character as closeted.

There’s a scene where Stuhlbarg is looking at slides of male statutes with Hammer, he remarks on the beauty of their bodies, and Hammer gives him a look.
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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:01 pm

Amending my statement: Oliver felt to me like a sketch, not Elio.
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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:05 pm

Yeah, to me, Elio is far more than a sketch -- maybe only because of Chalamet's performance, but I felt I knew a lot about him.

Let me be one of the few to here to back BJ's take. I didn't get that Stuhlbarg's monologue was necessarily intimating a gay past; to me, it was regret about a missed grand passion, which could have been of either gender (there are a lot of reasons why people pass on the chance at such a thing, not all orientation-related). Now, it's possible the novel was more explicit on this issue, or it's possible I (along with BJ) am being naive/obtuse, but I saw nothing in the film that definitively characterizes Stuhlbarg's character as closeted.

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby flipp525 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:51 pm

I think the only hard facts of a backstory we get of Oliver are two: he felt like the only Jewish guy in his New England town while growing up and he saw the Psychedelic Furs once in concert.

I’m not one who needs to have every single question answered or an elaborate backstory all the time. But, yes, the performance should telegraph the backstory if it’s not on the page. Lesley Manville and Daniel Day-Lewis do this brilliantly in a Phantom Thread where you aren’t really given a huge number of facts about their sibling history (I think there’s just one memory shared by Reynolds about them as children). They are able to telegraph the essence of their relationship in several key scenes without history-filled dialogue, easily answering questions about this or that for the audience.

That said, I think Armie Hammer does this at points in the film. His consciously guarded nature with Elio in the beginning (he’s seemingly making an advance with the out-in-the-open massage at one point to test the waters but, stand-offish at times initially) seemed very familiar to me as a way that gay men initially act “turned off” or uninterested in someone they are interested in, namely because - quite simply - we sometimes don’t know if a guy is gay or not and don’t want to make a mistake of hitting on a straight guy. It’s a protective gesture and something that made a lot of sense to me. It telegraphed to me the idea that Oliver might have been rebuffed in the past or could have overstepped. Sometimes the performance can be “read” like this in order to discover some of the character’s backstory when it’s not served up in dialogue or flashback.

I can understand some of the inscrutable aspects of the characters that other posters have acknowledged. I wouldn’t go so far as to refer to them as “sketches” though. I couldn’t call a performance as warmly inhabited as Chalamet’s a sketch. Also, looking back at some of my original thoughts about the movie contained in this thread, at the time, I described Hammer’s performance as “lived-in.”

I agree that Stuhlbarg’s story could be interpreted in a couple different ways. He has one of the best acted scenes out of any movie this year so I think it would be a shame for him to get left off when nominations are announced, although I’m fully prepared for it.
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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Uri » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:32 pm

Sabin wrote:
Uri wrote
Elio is the most obvious, surprisingly available complicit for him to play on this primal fascination/attraction.

Reading this, all I can say is that’s a very interesting idea that wasn’t at all apparent to me while watching the film. Although perhaps more of the fault lies in Armie Hammer. I certainly didn’t get a sense of who he was before the film began. He is a perfect choice if the intent was to make Oliver something of a fantasy creation. But there isn’t much inner-life, and to be honest it doesn’t seem like there’s much to the actor either. Perhaps that’s why he was so perfectly cast in ‘The Social Network.’


I agree with you that Hammer doesn't bring much more than his actual, physical presence to the table, but there is enough in that kind of cliche of a Nordic God, especially when presented to us opposite Chalamet's (and Stuhlbarg's) physicality to suggest a lot of cultural, historical, psychological, sexual - you name it - baggage.

And another bit that slipped my mind - Oliver chooses to present himself in this particular surrounding as somewhat jewish (he's wearing a star of David) - is it true, hence the initial attraction? Is it a kind of false device he uses to allure this family? It could be read either ways, but yes, Hammer doesn't offer us much help.

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:33 pm

Uri wrote
Elio is the most obvious, surprisingly available complicit for him to play on this primal fascination/attraction.

Reading this, all I can say is that’s a very interesting idea that wasn’t at all apparent to me while watching the film. Although perhaps more of the fault lies in Armie Hammer. I certainly didn’t get a sense of who he was before the film began. He is a perfect choice if the intent was to make Oliver something of a fantasy creation. But there isn’t much inner-life, and to be honest it doesn’t seem like there’s much to the actor either. Perhaps that’s why he was so perfectly cast in ‘The Social Network.’

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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.

Nailed it. That’s what I’m missing. At the start of every relationship, young or old, there’s a joy in learning “Who are you?” That’s missing entirely. As such, neither character becomes more than a sketch. But they’re sketches set to lovely music, mood, and scenary.
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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Uri » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:20 am

The Original BJ wrote: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.)


More than Oliver was attracted to Elio, he was attracted to the ambiance of the kind of exitance Elio’s family led. We don’t get any concrete information about Oliver’s background in CMBYN, but we all saw The Social Network. Kidding aside, it’s obvious he comes from a privileged, waspish background, with a rather concrete set of rules and expectations and here he’s encountered with this free-thinking, cosmopolite, very inclusive Jewish family and the setting in which it resides, with all its members seem to send him sexual vibes - closeted father, budding gay son and (sexually unfulfilled?) mother are all smitten with him. And the notion the Jews are sexually fluid is a rather old anti-Semitic notion – that Arian ethos is masculine, the Jewish is feminine. It seems rather inevetable to me that Oliver may have these notion as an inherent part of his cultural foundations, his subconscious. Elio is the most obvious, surprisingly available complicit for him to play on this primal fascination/attraction.

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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:00 am

I got the subtle impression that Stuhlbarg might have been talking about himself and the boy that got away, hence his recognition of the situation. It could also be that he's bisexual and because of societal standards, he was forced to settle down with a woman, whom he loves, even though he once had a tryst of his own that might have led somewhere different.
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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:42 am

I absolutely thought that Michael Stuhlbarg was talking about being closeted.
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Re: Call Me By Your Name reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:34 am

The Original BJ wrote:
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.


Wasn't sure. He may have been referring to a woman he didn't go further with.

As are as Oliver's attraction to Elio, beauty and attraction are in the eye of the beholder. Just because Oliver is a 'hunk' doesn't for one minute mean he can't be attracted to Elio. Whilst the film didn't give us Olivers motivations, as the film is from Elio's point of view, simple attraction and lust are enough reason.

It's also got to do with what a person is like on the inside because ultimately that is what really matters. That is what guides most meaningful relationships between people.
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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.
"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 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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