Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, Victoire Du Bois

Screenplay: James Ivory

132 mins. Rated R for sexual content, nudity and some language.

 

Call Me By Your Name has been one of the most-talked about films of the year as far as festival favorites go. I only very recently was lucky enough to catch a screening of the film. So does this awards-season heavy-hitter stack up?

Elio (Timothee Chalamet, Interstellar, Lady Bird) is a 17-year-old living in Italy. He is introduced to his father’s new assistant from America, Oliver (Armie Hammer, The Social Network, Cars 3). At first, Elio finds Oliver to be rather strange and a little off-putting, but as the two form a closer bond, Elio and Oliver’s friendship grows into a passionate love affair, one that both men are not expecting and one they must keep secret.

I found myself liking a lot of aspects of Call Me by Your Name, the most impressive being the cinematography from Sayombhu Mukdeeprom. This is a gorgeously shot film, and relies very heavily on the excellent visual aesthetic of the Italian locations where the film was shot.

The performances were strong, particularly the two leads, but I feel as though not enough love has been given to Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man, The Shape of Water) for his subtle and nuanced performance as Elio’s father. There is a scene, and you will know which one I mean when you see it, where Stuhlbarg bares his soul on the camera and it is one of the most beautiful monologues I’ve ever seen.

The issues that ended up taking me out of the film happened around Elio’s journey in the film. I found myself not connecting and following along with his decisions as he progressed through the story. I would have liked to have seen the internal conflict he is faced with, but I didn’t connect with him as a character until the latter half of the film. I’ve been called crazy for this, but it’s just how I felt as a viewer.

Call Me by Your Name is a beautiful love story filled with terrific performances all around. The faults with the film, to me, lie with the characterization of Elio and a narrative that needs tightening. Overall, I still rather enjoyed the film, but I don’t personally see it as a Best Picture kind of experience.

 

3.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For more Almighty Goatman,

Anticipated Sundance Film “Call Me By Your Name” Sells to Sony Pictures Classics

Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer appear in Call Me by Your Name by Luca Guadagnino, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. © 2016 Sundance Institute.

Call Me By Your Name, an anticipated independent film set to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival on January 22nd, has been picked up by Sony Pictures Classics.

Variety reports that the new romantic drama, based on the 2007 novel from Andre Aciman, secured worldwide rights for close to $6 million.

The film follows a love affair between a teenage boy and a man in his twenties (played by Armie Hammer of The Social Network fame) after they meet in Italy in the 1980s. I recall hearing about the book when it was published and the backlash it received from hate groups concerning the nature of the homosexual relationship and the sexually-charged scenes depicted in the novel.

It would seem that the film adaptation will also face its tribulations as more close-minded and hateful people have already insisted upon a boycott. To those people, I say if you don’t want to see the movie, don’t see the movie, but some people don’t get it and insist on spewing hate.

I’m curious to see how much of the novel made its way into the adaptation, and we are sure to hear more about the film when it premieres at Sundance later this month.

So what do you think? Is Sony Pictures Classics making a bold move on a possible Oscar contender for 2018? Let me know.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

The Birth of a Nation Teaser Trailer Drops, Can You Hear the Oscar Bells?

thebirthofanation2016a

Wow, I just saw the teaser trailer for The Birth of a Nation, from director Nate Parker. The film is the story of Nat Turner, who led a liberation movement in Virginia. I always found stories like this to be inspirational and interesting, as long as they are made well, and I’ve been hearing tons of praise coming out of the festival circuits, particularly from Sundance.

The trailer gives us the tone and scope of the film without dropping too much, and it definitely got me excited for the film, which releases later this year. We also get a look at Armie Hammer (The Social Network, The Lone Ranger) and Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, A Nightmare on Elm Street), who both only elevate the film for me. I cannot wait.

So what did you think? Will you be seeing The Birth of a Nation when it releases? Let me know.

The Birth of a Nation releases October 7th.

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

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