Call Me By Your Name

1983 Northern Italy


20 November 2017| No Comments on Call Me By Your Name     by Sean Chavel


There’s an intriguing performance from the start. Armie Hammer has made me wonder since “The Social Network” if he really has any more chops in him, and I’ve seen hints of that in his last two or three movies (such as with “Birth of a Nation,” “Nocturnal Animals”), but in Call Me By Your Name, he is something of a Golden Boy very much like Jude Law in “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” Just like Law, the Hammer character inspires gay thoughts in the enviable other pal. Timothee Chalamet is the ne’er do well young adult with a feeble body but big intellect who hates, but loves, this new guy’s ego. The new guy is to be an exchange student for the summer, and boy, does he attract attention left and right, and fast, just for being golden and super.

Is it possible to have admiration for a film afterwards but only after it was a drag to sit through it? “Call Me By Your Name” is a moseying art film, one that moves as slow as bottom barrel Eric Rohmer. There’s nothing moseying about Hammer, though, who is enough stud for 1983 and for 2017, take your pick. Hammer is simply a guy experimenting for the summer – he probably justifies in his head the idea of polymorphous sex. However, he never picks up on the thought that if he marries one day what he’s really doing is betraying his true colors.

The film is a statement about living, and hiding, in the closet with gay desires and feelings. Set entirely in a heavenly Northern Italy (some compositions are naturally pretty), it seems to be the place and time to freely explore anything – yes, anything – but something about being gay in that time required more secrecy to hide the disgracefulness of it all. The two main characters discover an attraction that’s peculiar (to them) and something carnal while Chalamet’s parents don’t seem to notice. Michael Stuhlbarg does end up noticing, however, and his final speech is stirring enough to make me want to re-rent this film years down the line just to get the message again. It’s a stay-truthful-to-yourself message, but damn if it doesn’t manage to say something new and poetic about that.

These aren’t your average gay characters, as they have girlfriends at the same time while they are fooling around. The film maybe obliquely says something about how a gay man in denial can have a girlfriend just to test out, that hey, maybe girls just don’t do it for him. I wanted those ideas, and the film entirely, to be more than just oblique about it. “Call Me By Your Name” has many good intentions, but it is dawdling and ambling too often, and sitting through its slowness made my butt sore.

132 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (1971, United Kingdom); “Show Me Love” (1998, Sweden); “Brokeback Mountain” (2005); “Summer Hours” (2009, France).

Call Me By Your Name-poster_2017 Overrated

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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