This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ethan Colburn’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Hi! I know I'm three years late but is the CMBYN Hive accepting new members??
It's absolutely insane to me how quiet this movie is and yet every time Timothee Chalamet is on screen, you now EXACTLY what he is thinking. This is a testament to performance, screenwriting being at the top of their game and perfectly complimenting each other.
The first act is an In The Mood For Love style flirtation between the two leads that lasts for SO LONG! You know they both know and it is agonizing in the best way possible. In these moments, they build up these slightly intimate moments such that a pat on the back feels like holding hands and lighting a cigarette feels like a passionate kiss. You see Elio struggle with his feelings and try to take out his sexual frustrations on girls, to no satisfaction.
The writing is OVER THE TOP! I find myself lingering on so many lines minutes later, and it is layered such that more is said between the lines than in the actual dialogue. There were also so many easier paths the script could have taken by making Elio's parents or even some side character homophobic, but the homophobia and resistance is all internal. The moment when Elio tells his dad "I almost had sex last night" and his dad responds with "why didn't you" is so important as it implies a level of respect his dad has for him to make his own decisions.
James Ivory is so deserving of his Oscar for this and I'm so glad he finally got it after so many years of passionate period pieces. (Check out Room with a View if you haven't already!) Despite Ivory being in his late 80s when he wrote this, it feels incredibly youthful. Though, I don't think that you could have gotten that AMAZING Michael Stuhlbarg speech if it weren't for his age and perspective. This is genuinely one of my favorite dad moments in a movie.
At the end of this all, I am heartbroken for Elio, but I don't think Oliver was ever right for him. Oliver never seems fully in their relationship, he only starts treating them like a couple after he knows he's leaving, and I was never that impressed by his character (other than just being a beautiful man). I hope Elio finds a man who can care for him in a deeper way.
Also, Elio is pretending like his parents don't know after they've been banging ALL NIGHT IN THAT CREAKY HOUSE!
I knew I'd like this but this is a genuine masterpiece. I am so impressed.