Oscars 2018: Call Me by Your Name is an emotional roller coaster


graphic by Bridget Murphy

Elio and Oliver “shake hands” for a truce

by Lilly Player, Reporter

Call Me by Your Name is a cinematic masterpiece that has been nominated for Best Picture in the 2018 Oscars Awards. I think it should win Best Picture because Luca Guadagnino created a beautiful story about family, first love, and that painful first heartbreak. 

This film follows Elio Pearlman, a 17-year-old boy staying in his family’s villa in Italy 1983. A 24-year-old man named Oliver comes to stay for a few weeks, and Elio becomes infatuated with him. During the film they become acquaintances, friends, and lovers.

Local fan Scott Patrick said, “As a gay man who grew up in the 80s, I wish there were more movies that featured [same sex] romance among men when I was a kid. Having a movie being nominated for an Oscar that revolves around a gay relationship is amazing.”

The script is well written with a vocabulary that fits the persona of Elio, a 17-year-old scholar. Most of the script has conversations about the Greco-Roman art/culture. Oliver and Elio spend a lot of time talking about pieces of art and statues while getting to know one another. Their relationship sparks when they realize their shared love for art.

“Hence their ageless ambiguity. As if they’re daring you to desire them.” A line delivered by Mr.Pearlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) regarding a Roman statue. “Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine” was a line written  to invoke a passion within the viewer, creating an intense feeling of the love shared between Oliver and Elio.

The soundtrack seemed to move with the film, with a pace that matched the length of the shots. For example, at the end of the film it shows Elio staring into a fireplace crying. In this scene the viewer feels the heartbreak that Elio feels, as Timothée Chalamet (Elio Pearlman) acted beautifully, not only in this scene, but throughout the entirety of the movie.

The New York Times wrote a review on the film, saying “There are moments when Mr. Guadagnino’s visual choices seem unintentionally in competition with the quieter, intricate emotions that his actors put across so movingly.”

Luca Guadagnino focused more on the plot of the film rather than on the characters. He did not let the characters’ story delve deeper or explain the past. There were opportunities for Guadagnino to have Oliver talk about his romantic past with Elio, or for Elio’s family to show their feelings about their son being romantically involved with a man seven years his senior.

While filming, Guadagnino did not use a diverse range of shots. He seemed to primarily use one angle, and not many close ups or wide range shots, which would have helped further the emotions and empower certain symbols of the movie. 

One controversy surrounding the film is the age gap relationship between Elio and Oliver. Being released during the Time’s Up movement the movie received backlash for having a relationship with a teenage boy and a man seven years older.

Call Me by Your Name has won six awards, and is nominated for three Oscars’ awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Timothée Chalamet), and Best Writing Adapted Screenplay.  

While the movie was interesting to watch, and the acting was great, overall Luca Guadagnino could have done a better job directing the film in terms of shots and plots. For movie buffs, or anyone who enjoys a good cry, I definitely recommend Call Me by Your Name.