It feels strange to watch Call Me By Your Name post the revelations about Armie Hammer. I know why this movie was so acclaimed. The cinematography is magnificent. The setting, idyllic. I spent much of my time while watching this movie fantasizing about a world where you summer in a gorgeous Italian countryside home within a fruit orchard, swimming, riding your bike into town, reading, and playing music, without, of course, the internet.
I was drawn to a few scenes in particular. In our opening, as Oliver (Hammer) pulls up to the villa, he’s exhausted from jet lag and travel and collapses into bed in the late afternoon only to emerge the following morning. I found myself wistful for international travel, knowing that loopy feeling of a long flight with little sleep, walking out into a time that feels all wrong, in a brand new place that feels as foreign as it is. There’s something special about that tired first 24 hours in a new country. It’s a feeling I’ve missed in this long pandemic year.
When Elio (Timothée Chalamet) reveals his feelings to Oliver around a World War I memorial, the camera work is perfect. Looking up and down just like an unsure teenager’s head would bob around as they fearfully reveal a deep truth. Elio and Oliver are set across from each other, far apart as confessions are made, with the camera following their circling of the monument, allowing the monument to obscure them both just as they are out of sight with each other.
Overall, this movie is just too long. It’s well-paced, but it’s beauty cannot overcome the fact that I don’t feel the fear, or the heartbreak, or even the elation of the young love. I saw it, but I didn’t feel it, and so Call Me By Your Name was beautiful, but flat.
I wish there were more movies like this one, but I didn’t like this one very much.