Sundance 2017 Review: ‘Call Me By Your Name’ – Summer Lovin’

Sundance 2017 Review: Call Me By Your Name – Summer Lovin’

Call Me By Your Name was the first film at Sundance this year to get major buzz. When I finally got to see it at an added press screening, I could confirm that it was a well done, touching film that deserved its praise. Fairly typical of the sort of festival buzz that gets repositioned at awards season too, but not to take away from its merits.

Oliver (Armie Hammer) comes to spend the summer with Professor Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) in Italy in the early ‘80s. Over the summer, Oliver and Perlman’s son Elio (Timothee Chalamet) form a relationship in a time and place where neither of them can be out.

Remember when gay couples couldn’t kiss in public? It wasn’t that long ago. Even Civil Rights movies show a time before I was born, but I was alive in the ‘80s. I remember the American ‘80s music they listen to in the film. And Europe was a bit more forward than the states, but of course, Oliver is an American. It’s still poignant to see how far we’ve come in a short time.

Both Oliver and Elio engage in sexual exploration, alone and together, in private and in public (testing the waters of how far they can take it, I imagine). There is a foot massage that proves Quentin Tarantino right. It is sensual, as sensual between two men as a man and a woman. There is some more graphic sexual exploration that I admire for its forthrightness. Armie Hammer is a beautiful man and here is a lot of poolside beefcake.

Call Me By Your Name ends on a beautiful inspiring note. Perlman, who for most of the movie has seemed to be a pretentious intellectual, reveals he gets it in a way that will truly help his son be the man he should become. So it’s equally a portrayal of good parenting as it is honest sexual becoming.

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