Call Me by Your Name

Call Me by Your Name ★★★★

Oh, the photography of Sayombhu Mukdeeprom! Shots drenched in sun, wrapped in partial shadows, aimed at the trees that keep secrets and provide shelter, and the perfectly choreographed admission of desire at the town fountain—the statue of a soldier standing between two people unable to explicitly say what they want.

"People who read are secretive." Period gay romances are the most cinematic of romances because they involve tension in allowance and secrets to characters—but no secrets to the camera; it turns emerging love into heightened observations and heightened release and that's what beginnings of love really feels like. Luca Guadagnino captures that drunk in love feeling quite effectively. It's got the stomach pains, the time-killing masturbation, goosebumps, and the leaps to kisses and embraces of a new romance.

If there's a quibble, for me, it's just that Armie Hammer's Oliver is not very interesting. Though Hammer is quite charismatic, we only see the seduction from Elio's POV and Oliver comes off as quite aloof and cardboard, in my opinion. Thankfully, Michael Stuhlbarg gets an all-timer monologue that provides extra layers to the story. In many instances, his scene could've become an audience hand-holder but Guadagnino, Stuhlbarg, and Mukdeeprom frequently capture the warmth of the professor father in small moments throughout the film, and, as such, his big speech holds right in the center; like a warm hug, that's stiff so as not to quiver.

Speaking of stiff, I also appreciated the camera's attention to boner outlines. Ah, to be young!

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