Call Me By Your Name takes place in Northern Italy, over the summer of 1983 and centres around 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), and the older, Oliver (Armie Hammer), who’s hired to help Elio’s professor father (Michael Stuhlbarg) with his research into Greco-Roman culture. I knew nothing about the topic he’s studying, but I figured that didn’t matter too much as this would be more a relationship drama and it was… to a point.
The main problem with it, is that it runs for 132 minutes and takes a hell of a long time to get going, since it’s almost an hour in before their relationship ‘begins’. Before that, they’re chatting – briefly, but more often, either Oliver’s seen going off on his own, or Elio’s doing likewise, the latter often with seemingly potential girlfriend Marzia (Esther Garrel)… and that’s about it.
In terms of a drama where a man has a gay relationship but also tries to deny it by flirting with a woman, I do feel I’ve seen elements of this before. It’s also quite baggy as it spends a lot of time away from the simple story of the two male leads. It’s like watching a 3-part TV drama, all in one go, that’s about twice as long as it needs to be.
There’s other small elements of the story listed in the billing, but I failed to gleam much of that from watching this. The whole thing just seemed to drift across the screen without much meaning.
There are a few decent scenes, from time to time, which show that the two leads do have good chemistry and there could have been a good film, here, but it chose to focus on anything BUT their relationship for the majority of the running time, often resulting in unimportant scenes with tertiary characters chatting about nothing in particular and changing between French and Italian in the same conversation. It’s like the European equivalent of The Royle Family.
I did love the occasional ’80s music, though, including Psychedlic Furs‘ Love My Way and Giorgio Moroder & Joe Esposito with Lady, Lady.
Watching, Call Me By Your Name, I can see that Timothée Chalamet is a good actor, but nominated for a BAFTA? And winning the Oscar? Waaaaay too soon. For best actor, so were lots of other people in roles for films released in 2017. My favourite of those released in the UK last year was A Man Called Ove, with a wonderful central performance from Rolf Lassgård in the titular role. Some may argue that the film was made in 2015. Yes, it was. But it wasn’t released in the UK until 2017.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, and while the definition is spot on, there’s a little grain-like effect on the picture, but then again, kudos to the director for the fact that he shot this on 35mm when most people are shooting on digital, these days.
The audio is in DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, with the soundtrack containing dialogue and a bit of score plus the occasional music track, but not too much else, but then it’s mostly a dialogue piece, anyway.
- Snapshots of Italty: The Making Of Call Me By Your Name (10:45): All those featured in the next extra talk about why they wanted to make the novel as a movie. The chat is mixed in with clips from the film.
- In Conversation (25:10): An in-depth Q&A with Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg and direcor Luca Guadagnino.
- Mystery of Love, by Sufjan Stevens (4:09): The main theme set to clips from the film.
- Theatrical Trailer (2:06): In the original 1.85:1 theatrical ratio.
- Audio commentary: with ‘son’ and ‘father’, Timothée Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg.
The menu features a static shot of the two leads, subtitles are in English only, and there are 16 chapters to the disc, so better than the usual 12, but still not enough for my preference of one every five minutes, which would be about 26. In the background is a small piece of the theme tune which is very Simon and Garfunkel-inspired.
Running time: 132 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
Released: March 5th 2018
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Format: 1.85:1 (35mm, Super 35)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Luca Guadagnin
Producers: Emilie Georges, Luca Guadagnino, James Ivory, Marco Morabito, Howard Rosenman, Peter Spears and Rodrigo Teixeira
Screenplay: James Ivory (based on the novel by André Aciman)
Oliver: Armie Hammer
Elio Perlman: Timothée Chalamet
Mr. Perlman: Michael Stuhlbarg
Annella Perlman: Amira Casar
Marzia: Esther Garrel
Chiara: Victoire Du Bois
Mafalda: Vanda Capriolo
Anchiese: Antonio Rimoldi
Art Historian 1: Elena Bucci
Art Historian 2: Marco Sgrosso
Mounir: André Aciman
Isaac: Peter Spears
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.