By Christian Jay B. Quilo
POIGNANT, heartwarming in one scene and then heartbreaking in the next, “ Call Me By Your Name was a film that left me emotionally confused — giddy, devastated, hopeful, all at the same time. I didn’t even know a film could have that kind of effect, on me at least.
“Call Me By Your Name,” based on the novel of the same name by André Aciman, tells the story of the whirlwind romance between 17-year old Elio (played by Timothée Chalamet), a precocious and book-smart boy and 24-year old Oliver (played by Armie Hammer), a post-graduate student who works as a research assistant for Elio’s dad over the summer in Northern Italy.
Personally, I’m not the type to watch a movie in the cinemas twice no matter how good it is because it’s just plain expensive. But this film was an exception. Even though I already watched the film online prior to its run in local theaters, I watched the film in the cinemas (twice!) with the same excitement as when I watched it for the first time.
“Call Me By Your Name” is up for four Academy Awards: Timothée Chalamet for Best Actor, “Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens for Best Original Song, James Ivory for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay and the film itself for Best Picture.
This is not going to have any effect on the results but I think it’s worth sharing how beautiful this film is. Here are five reasons why “Call Me By Your Name” should win at the Oscars. Now, excuse me as I stare into my imaginary fireplace and hope that the film wins at least one out of its four nominations.
1. Hammer and Chalamet’s onscreen chemistry is undeniable.
With Hammer’s all-American features and Chalamet’s chiseled visage, they’re gorgeous — there’s no argument there. But what makes the film so compelling is the palpable chemistry between the two actors. Would you believe that the two only met each other for the first time in Crema when they were about to start filming? Whenever they are asked during interviews about their chemistry, Chalamet always considers it “random luck of the universe.”
Hammer is married and Chalamet is heterosexual, but being the talented actors that they are, they became their characters — uninhibited, unabashed. These two did justice to their roles, to say the least. Fingers crossed Chalamet wins Best Actor tomorrow. Fun fact: At 22, Chalamet is the youngest Best Actor nominee in almost 80 years.
2. The soundtrack is beautiful.
Throughout the film, we hear a lot of piano music as well as some Italian pop. But my favorites from the film would have to be Sufjan Stevens’ “Mystery of Love,” which is nominated in the Best Original Song category; and “Visions of Gideon,” the song that plays in the background as the credits roll while Elio pours his heart out in front of the fireplace. These two songs were written by the American singer-songwriter especially for the film.
Imagine my excitement when I found out that Sufjan Stevens is set to perform ‘Mystery of Love’ at the actual awards show! Whether he wins the award or not, the fact that he gets to perform this beautifully melancholic song in an event of such caliber already makes him a winner.
3. The locations are breathtaking.
Majority of the film was shot in the agricultural city of Crema, Lombardy in Northern Italy, which director Guadagnino also happens to call home. Charmingly rustic and provincial, Crema is known for its majestic architecture, alluring swimming holes and expansive fields. It looks entirely like a different world. It’s amazing to imagine that such a place, where history and nature is very much intact, still exists. Now, how do I get to Crema?
4. It’s a romantic movie.
But it’s also a family movie.
Although dubbed as a “coming-of-age drama” (hello, peach scene), Guadagnino considers “Call Me By Your Name” to be a family film firstly. Although the story does mainly revolve around the two men and their relationship, anchored alongside Elio were his parents, who were very much integral to him as Oliver was. I couldn’t help but feel a tad emotional during Mr. Perlman’s monologue as young Elio listened intently and just let his dad’s wise words sink in.
I was pleasantly surprised by how supportive Elio’s parents were. He didn’t need to tell them anything, they just knew — and that’s very refreshing to see in films. No tragic event had to happen for them to turn around and realize things. The scene seemed almost utopian but then again, it’s something the world should see and learn from.
5. The costumes are on point.
Giulia Piersanti is the brilliant costume designer behind the film. Set in the blistering summer of Italy, less was definitely more for the characters and their looks. We saw a lot of short shorts in pretty prints and colors and breezy cotton shirts on the two leads. I did some research and found out that a lot of the wardrobe in the film, specifically Elio and Oliver’s, were a mix of vintage and custom-made pieces.
Personally, my favorite fashion moment in the film would have to be Elio’s winter ensemble in the last scene of the film — the printed shirt with puffy sleeves layered over a black turtleneck and pleated trousers. Unfortunately, the film is not nominated in the Best Costume Category. But don’t you think the nonchalant, easygoing looks in “Call Me By Your Name” were also worth getting nominated in the category?