January 05, 2018

R: December 22nd, 2017 | R: 131 minutes | R: R

A story of first love that audiences will be sure to love, Call Me By Your Name is an emotional masterpiece.

Some summer in the early eighties, an American-Italian family welcome an American foreign exchange student into their home in Northern Italy. The introspective seventeen year old son quickly finds himself at odds with the brash, loud twenty something year old student. Yet underlying these frustrations is the son’s attraction to the older student that unfolds over a long courtship. Over the summer, they both must grapple with jealousy, unrequited love, and that difficulty of discovering yourself in a world that doesn’t understand you.

Lacking a star-studded cast, Call Me By Your Name still manages to capture some of the best performances of the year in a captivating storyline. The film is an artistic masterpiece, with a convergence of fantastic cinematography, a wonderful soundtrack crafted by Sufjan Stevens, a compelling story of first love, believable dialogue, and amazing performances. Call Me By Your Name masterfully captures the idyllic Northern Italian summer atmosphere and the feelings of first love. Although the film moves forward at a leisurely pace, it does so meaningfully – both reflecting the slow discovery of oneself, the gradual pace of new love, and the quiet atmosphere of the countryside – and avoids feeling slow, boring, or long. Everything that the film does feels purposeful.

The setting, dialogue, performances, and soundtrack all do its story the justice it deserves. Call Me By Your Name focuses on something that likely feels familiar to all of us – first love. And it captures that feeling almost perfectly, making it completely relatable and compelling. Although the circumstances can feel somewhat awkward (for example, obscuring the ages of the characters a little more and dropping the peach scene would have made the film more palatable), the film fully delivers on bringing back the feelings of discovering yourself and on discovering love for the first time. The coy back-and- forth, the do they/ do they not, the slowly pushing of boundaries, and the jealous and doubt that surrounds it is perfectly captured as the characters flirt with women, make underhanded jokes about one another, and as the two slowly bond over the summer. Yet the story adds the extra level as the two characters discover themselves and of discovering their sexuality. The film even perfectly captures the conclusion of first love masterfully, and feels almost cathartic in the way it allows its audience to join its characters on this journey.

Call Me By Your Name is possibly one of the best coming of age movies released to date. With its reliance on sexuality, it also makes it one of the best films featuring gay characters released to date. The film truly delivers an accomplished artistic vision, performances, and storyline. The movie is tight, well polished, and fully realized, pulling its audience into an emotional journey that is sure to satisfy and resonate from start to finish.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Johnny Johnny (Senior Contributor) was born and raised in San Diego. He's been a fan of films the majority of his life. He enjoys the feeling it invokes and the power it has to take you to another place.
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