Call Me by Your Name (2017) will subvert your expectations about what a romantic movie can be

by Banned Library in


We all know what romantic movies are supposed to be, right? Person meets person in a cute way, they initially are irritated, fate spills them into each other's arms, a force pries them apart, then they race back together for a finale marriage or at least reconciliation. There's some variety to be had, but for the most part this is it. Call Me By Your Name shows how real life is.

    Elio is having a good summer smack in the center of Italy in the 1980s. His father's new student, Oliver, arrives and there's something special about the man. Elio and Oliver circle each other, date local Italian women, before falling into each other's arms. The will-they-won't-they sustains much of the plot until the cool tension is released.

    Acting, directing, writing, all are in top form here. I saw some internet video remarking on how this is a collaboration, a mish mash of writer James Ivory's other films (Room With a View, Howard's End). It is that and so much more. While the director mimics certain shots, he improves on them, magnifying the meaning without lessening the impact. How's that for some two dollar words?

    I just liked the story. We meet these people, not lost, not looking for something new. Elio is young, inexperience, fumbling in love and testing himself. Oliver is sure of himself, capable of fulfilling his needs and desires. Their love story comes late in the telling, late for their own desire and is that much sweeter and more bitter when they are separated.

    The ability to have a romantic story rely on the romance bringing two people together rather than keeping them apart is what makes this movie special. So much so that it reminded me of the Before trilogy by Linklater. There's no villain, no insecurity keeping our lovers away from one another. Just life waxing and waning, allowing us to join each other and find joy and comfort where we can when we can.

    Shit, now I wanna rewatch the Before trilogy.