“It was the Summer of ’83” (Call Me by Your Name review)

‘Call Me by Your Name’ stars Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg, and tells the story of a young man coming of age and discovering his sexuality.

The film is set in Italy, during a hot six weeks in summer, and the first thing to say about it is that it is a beautifully sun kissed piece to look at. The shots are relaxed and the cinematography makes great use of the gorgeous setting they’re filming in. The sound as well is very stripped back. Almost the whole film is underscored only by the sound of crickets or relaxing piano music. I was surprised that with such a slow pace, the film never once dragged, despite being over 2 hours long.

The story itself is fairly simple, but features complex themes. A 17-year-old Jewish boy (Chalamet) discovers his sexuality after falling in love with his Dad’s work colleague (Hammer). The topic is dealt with in a very respectful way, with the sexuality and age taboo being well underplayed. I did feel that the romance between them did appear rather suddenly, without much set up as to why it happened, but this did not affect the enjoyment.

The key thing to note about the film is the outstanding performances, particularly from Chalamet. As a fairly newcomer to the film industry, he has certainly shown himself to be a brave and powerful actor with a fantastic grasp of not only emotion, but also humour. Hammer is also in fine form, though I did feel his character was far weaker than Chalamet. I must say that credit must go to Michael Stuhlbarg, who steals the show with his closing speech. The sentiment, love and pride in his character was a beautiful addition, and made a very valid social statement.

Overall, I found the film utterly enjoyable. The drama was well judged, the music was beautiful, and the setting was sublime. Another great contender for the Oscars.

10 Stars

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