Call Me By Your Name: Our Society's Most Needed Film


I know, I’m a little late to the game in this grand explosion of a film. But my goodness, Call Me by Your Name really stuck with me, and I find myself thinking about the underlying themes and messages ever since I saw it. It holds messages beyond a same-sex romance. It shows us the importance of being loved and clinging onto intimate relationships. Intimate relationships are packaged with confusion, sadness, love and so much more, but that’s the beauty of it. There’s no better lesson taught than those of intimate relationships.


From the opening titles, viewers are immediately drawn into a different world. A world in which light and warmth overtake the screen. The biggest aspect of this film is the beauty and rawness. Director of the film, Luca Guadagnino, adds so many layers to the screen & characters without ever explicitly stating and more so showing. Luca’s directing allows such a newly awkward blossoming relationship to feel so comfortable. I know I just completely contradicted myself, however Luca has the power to do just so. I felt so close to both characters as if I could almost feel all these emotions with them. It’s extremely rare that a director can fully allow viewers to feel so closely with such characters. Life is filled in each scene bursting with existence, and it continued to parallel to both Elio and Oliver’s lives.


Fresh actor Timothée Chalamet plays Elio, a precocious, smart, carefree 17-year-old spending his summer of 1983 in Northern Italy. His parents- fabulously played by Amira Casar and Michael Stuhlbarg- are both intellectual & caring to him. While summering, Oliver a 20-something confident and strikingly good-looking grad student boards at the family’s house while studying with Elio’s father. Elio spends his time with friends, reading, playing piano, and relishing in the sunshine wasting away his days. While he is wiser beyond-his-years, he upholds ignorance in sex and love. This aggravation he struggles with begins to seep through his overall persona as it clearly affects his mindset. Elio is immediately drawn to the wittiness Oliver possesses which is eloquently captured over short bursts of energetic scenes as well as scenes with utter stillness. Their blossoming relationship is strung out over the course of the summer, but leads to an ultimate realization of the obsession they simply cannot neglect. There is so much emotional energy in both characters, yet they both try to be more like each other, hence the “Call me by your name, and I’ll call you by mine” line. Every feeling is drawn to the center and it seems the film is in ultimate focus once their relationship reaches this. The simplicity and importance music holds in Elio’s life is exquisitely shown with the classically composed album which adds to the overall warmth of the film. 80’s classic “Love My Way” by The Psychedelic Furs signifies Oliver’s carefree confidence when he loosely dances to this song multiple times. A diverse selection of music is played throughout pivotal moments of the film, including many intimate scenes between Oliver and Elio which allows more passion for viewers. The passionate romance developed between Oliver and Elio is beautiful, and it reaffirms the importance of intimacy.


Society needs this film the most right now. A simple yet so powerful monologue is what every single parent needs to hear.  “Love is love”, yeah, we’ve heard that statement numerous times as it dominates social media. But it’s so beyond this “love is love” concept, it’s this monologue. Near the end of the film, Elio’s father lets his vulnerability out with a heartfelt monologue about the power of the connection Oliver and Elio possess. He makes a point to cherish these moments and never let them go. With Elio’s love for Oliver, he experiences a tremendous growth emotionally and perhaps this relationship is what he needed the most in life.  He needed the lesson experienced in real time through his own eyes. The whole film boils down to this pivotal monologue as Elio all at once realizes the importance of the moments spent in the summer with Oliver. Abruptly, Elio and his father both let their guards down. The emotion expressed over the final scenes are so powerful words can barely do it justice. The importance of this scene didn’t truly hit me until days after. It only made me think of the difference of the society in which we live in, and the immeasurable differences of a world we’d live in if this was understood across all adults and even parents. With a beautiful heart-wrenching ending, Call Me by Your Name reaffirms the importance of clinging onto the intimate relationships & moments of our lives in which the hardest yet most beautiful lessons are taught.


- Megan Bloom (@meganvbloom)