What better time than late 2017 for an idyllic film about a sexual relationship between a 17-year-old and a grown-ass man? There’s certainly nothing in the news that would make Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name queasy-making! Elio (Timothée Chalamet) is an American-Italian teenager spending the summer of ’83 with his scholarly parents in their family’s villa in scenic Italy. When grad student Oliver (the stiffly bland Armie Hammer) arrives to help Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg) study sexy statues — Stone Dicks: The Movie wouldn’t have as many pictures of stone dicks as this movie — Elio, turned on by Oliver’s bland stiffness, begins a semi-covert affair with the short-short aficionado.
The story is told from Elio’s perspective, and Guadagnino makes it clear that Elio initiates what happens between the two of them, or at least invites it. Call Me By Your Name’s official synopsis assures us that “Elio’s sophistication and intellectual gifts suggest he is already a fully-fledged adult,” which neither jibes with the on-screen character nor makes up for the fact that Oliver is clearly a solid decade older. Sure, age of consent in Italy is 14, but Elio is explicitly referred to as an American, and — enh, whatever. Chalamet and Stuhlbarg are great, and that Italian countryside sure is pretty.
Call Me By Your Name