Call Me By Your Name

LetterboxD review link

I thought a lot about Andrew Haigh’s Weekend while watching Call Me By Your Name. Like that film, the bulk of the intimacy of this film happens behind closed doors, or in private conversations. There’s a public aspect to heterosexual intimacy that is mostly missing from same-sex relationships. There’s not much public-ness in this film, but the way Elio and Oliver’s relationship unfolds just betweent them is notable. The tender, loving, warm characterization of the parents, though, was a welcomed addition, and moved me to tears a few times. We talk a lot about unconditional parental love in the West, and this was a lovely display of such a love.

It’s hard to bring philosophical weight to a 17-year old boy’s sex drive, while still remaining firmly grounded in the libidinal, carnal pleasures from which it often stems, but this story balances these things perfectly. Elio’s emotional journey, as well as the physicality at the center of sexuality is displayed with care here. I would’ve liked a less “mannered” approach to the sex scenes but I imagine that was a careful decision Guadagnino had to make in conjunction with the studio. I look forward to more mainstream movies that can treat homosexual sex with the same appreciation of physicality as heterosexual sex.

At the end of this film, there’s a protracted scene between father and scene that features the following line: “to make yourself feel nothing, so you don’t feel anything, is a shame.” That idea will stick with me for a long time to come.