UK Release Date: 5th March 2018
Runtime: 129 minutes
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Writer: James Ivory
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Esther Garrel
Synopsis: A precocious teenager finds unexpected attraction with the handsome, older intern who visits his home in rural Italy to help his professor father during the summer break.
Yesterday evening – or the early hours of this morning on this side of the Atlantic – the 89-year-old icon of cinema James Ivory finally won his first Academy Award after a career spanning more than six decades. The award was for his adaptation of André Aciman’s novel Call Me By Your Name. It’s the beautiful, complex story of a fleeting summer romance, directed with a real eye for beauty by Luca Guadagnino and featuring an ensemble of richly layered performances. It’s out on Blu-ray from today and the very definition of a must-watch movie.
In a different year, Timothée Chalamet would have been a clear Best Actor frontrunner for his performance as the musically precocious 17-year-old Elio, who finds himself falling under the slightly confusing spell of Oliver (Armie Hammer), who is staying at the rural Italian home of Elio’s professor father (Michael Stuhlbarg) while working as a summer intern. Their relationship matures from nervous and standoffish to intense and romantic, with both men internally questioning the wisdom of embarking upon an inherently short-lived summer together.
Few films in recent memory have been able to evoke a period and an environment as vividly as Call Me By Your Name. Through the keen vision of Luca Guadagnino and the setting in his native Italy, as well as the 35mm film running through DoP Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s camera, every frame of the movie radiates heat, both literal and metaphorical, as well as the wistful, almost mythical nostalgia of a half-forgotten summer. Call Me By Your Name is about feel more than plot, with the ethereal strains of Sufjan Stevens’s original songs – including the Oscar-nommed ‘Mystery of Love’ – providing the perfect accompaniment.
But it’s the performances that really resonate in Call Me By Your Name. It’s a grave injustice that Timothée Chalamet wasn’t rewarded for his outstanding work, conjuring the perfect contradiction of a cocksure know-it-all with no grasp on the maelstrom of feelings flying through him. Armie Hammer, meanwhile, was born to play the preposterously handsome, well-read avatar of perfection, who is gradually sanded down and humanised by his relationship with Elio. The third pillar is Michael Stuhlbarg, who comes alive in a final scene between him and his son that is one of the most tender and believable moments committed to celluloid in recent years.
There is something about Call Me By Your Name that has been lost in the transfer from the big screen to the small screen. Its sumptuous visual style is designed for the biggest screen imaginable, which is something that even the best Blu-ray can’t mimic. With that said, this is a movie that’s about its characters, and they resonate with a power that transcends the format in which the performances are being shown. The movie remains an intoxicating journey into a world of love and wonderment, with a devastatingly simple final shot that you’ll struggle to forget.
A pretty standard selection here. There’s a commentary track, Q&A recording, a making of featurette where everyone talks about how lovely the experience was, the trailer and a music video for that stunning Oscar-nominated song.
Pop or Poop?
If you managed to miss Call Me By Your Name on its cinema run, you owe it to yourself to pick up the Blu-ray. The movie is one of the most beautiful romance stories told on the big screen in recent years, but it’s one that has a handle on the real trials and tribulations of love, whether gay or straight.
Chalamet and Hammer are fantastic, with Stuhlbarg swinging in for the final act to break your heart all over again. This is a special piece of work.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.
Call Me By Your Name is available on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK now, courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.