Saturday, September 22, 2018
Movies

Coming-of-age love story ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is a rare treasure

Another young man’s summer he’ll never forget is the core of Call Me By Your Name, a movie to likewise treasure. Luca Guadagnino’s coming out-of-age drama is a rare exception to familiar romantic rules.

This film’s same-sex summer fling shared by a teenage prodigy and post-grad student is romance by means of intelligence, both shared and artistically expressed. Movies don’t usually sound this smart, or look this minutely picturesque, in 1980’s period and seemingly every leaf of its Northern Italy setting.

Call Me By Your Name makes eyes and ears swoon, so the heart has little choice but to follow. It’s a movie one wishes to live in, speaking the way these characters do. The screenplay by James Ivory, 89, bears the unhurried imprint of his pinnacle works with Ismail Merchant; The Remains of the Day, A Room with a View and especially 1987’s Maurice, a landmark of gay cinema.

Thirty years later, post-Brokeback Mountain, Call Me By Your Name is afforded more daring in its relationship between 17-year-old Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer), 24, who’s interning for Elio’s professor father (Michael Stuhlbarg), documenting artifacts. Elio is bright, multilingual, a talented musician and his father’s match in linguistic riddles.

His relationship with Oliver begins conflicted, a stranger bestowed the teen’s bedroom, both American, Jewish and intelligent. Elio gravitates to this lusty intruder, introduces his friends including the one with benefits, Marzia (Esther Garrel). Guadagnino luxuriates in their bonding, the nightclubs and swimming holes, usually with others but eventually alone.

Elio makes the first hesitant moves, which bears mentioning only because the age difference has been questioned in the allegation wakes of Kevin Spacey and Roy Moore. Italy’s age of consent then and now is 14. Casting may be a factor of discomfort; neither Chalamet, 21, nor Hammer, 31, look as young or old as they’re portraying. There is no predatory nature to Call Me By Your Name, only human nature, at times boldly expressed. Elio’s sexual curiosity drives Guadagnino’s passion; the teen’s experiment with a morning-after peach conveys both.

Praise heaped on Chalamet’s performance since Sundance, 2017 made me dubious going in. Nobody can be that good this quick, right? Yes, Chalamet can. His Elio is knowingly gifted, unsheathing talent only when he feels like it. Even so, romance is rough draft stuff at his age. Chalamet is a fairly impassive presence, yet each emotional notes rings clear.

Call Me By Your Name concludes with two remarkable scenes, first at a crucial point in Elio and Oliver’s relationship, when the teen’s father shares his opinion. Ivory hands Stuhlbarg a soliloquy for which actors would kill, a hyper-literate expression of understanding and candor the son doesn’t expect. Neither do we, after too many gay-themed films relying on tension from disapproving parents.

The other scene is practically wordless, just Chalamet in closeup for nearly two minutes, his gaze into a fireplace slowly reflecting what a turning point summer still means and always will. Call it what you want but this movie is an instantly fond memory.

Contact Steve Persall at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.

Comments
At 50, Clearwater's real-life superhero is hanging up his super suit

At 50, Clearwater's real-life superhero is hanging up his super suit

CLEARWATER — For two decades, Dale Pople patrolled the streets feeding the homeless, helping old people carry groceries, extinguishing a car fire. He wore a red, yellow and blue Spandex outfit with an SH emblem: "Super Hero." Now, Clearwater&...
Published: 09/21/18
Gilda Radner is remembered in her own words in the documentary ‘Love, Gilda’

Gilda Radner is remembered in her own words in the documentary ‘Love, Gilda’

With the aid of rare audio recordings, the late Saturday Night Live comic force Gilda Radner narrates the story of her life in the new documentary Love, Gilda, opening Friday at Tampa Theatre.But it wasn’t easy initially for director Lisa D’Apolito t...
Published: 09/20/18
What’s in theaters this week: ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls,’ ‘Life Itself,’ locally filmed ‘The Favorite’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls,’ ‘Life Itself,’ locally filmed ‘The Favorite’

NOW PLAYING: THE FAVORITEFilmed in Pinellas County, the faith-based movie The Favorite continues its run in local theaters this week. It follows two brothers (Matthew Fahey and Luke Bernard, who also co-wrote the screenplay based on his own life) rec...
Published: 09/19/18
‘Smokey and the Bandit’ returns to theaters today, honoring Burt Reynolds

‘Smokey and the Bandit’ returns to theaters today, honoring Burt Reynolds

For the next nine days, AMC Theaters will take you east bound and down once more as the late Burt Reynolds’ iconic 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit returns to theaters in the Tampa Bay area.The theater chain announced it will be bringing Bandit, Fred,...
Published: 09/12/18
What’s in theaters this week: ‘The Predator,’ ‘A Simple Favor,’ ‘White Boy Rick,’ ‘Unbroken’ sequel

What’s in theaters this week: ‘The Predator,’ ‘A Simple Favor,’ ‘White Boy Rick,’ ‘Unbroken’ sequel

OPENING FRIDAY: The Predator A young boy (Jacob Tremblay) inadvertently prompts the return to Earth of the now genetically enhanced killing creatures. With Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn and Sterling K. Brown. Direc...
Published: 09/12/18
Glenn Close is a six-time Oscar nominee. With ‘The Wife,’ she deserves to finally win.

Glenn Close is a six-time Oscar nominee. With ‘The Wife,’ she deserves to finally win.

When The Wife first appeared on the festival circuit last year, the call went up almost immediately: This, finally, might be the movie to win Glenn Close the Oscar that has eluded her over the course of six — count-’em — six nominations.The movie is ...
Published: 09/11/18
Burt Reynolds, who described Tampa as 'my other hometown,' dies at 82

Burt Reynolds, who described Tampa as 'my other hometown,' dies at 82

Burt Reynolds, whose blend of Southern-fried machismo and wise-guy playfulness launched his worldwide celebrity in the 1970s, first as a freewheeling chat-show guest, then as a nude centerfold in Cosmopolitan magazine and finally as a Hollywood actio...
Published: 09/06/18
Updated: 09/07/18
Oscars’ popular film award is postponed after backlash

Oscars’ popular film award is postponed after backlash

The organization that bestows the Academy Awards says it is suspending plans to award a new Oscar for popular films amid widespread backlash to the idea. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says it will further study plans for the categor...
Updated one month ago
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Peppermint,’ ‘The Nun,’ ‘God Bless the Broken Road’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Peppermint,’ ‘The Nun,’ ‘God Bless the Broken Road’

OPENING FRIDAY:THE NUNA troubled priest (Demian Bichir, above) and a novitiate sent by the Vatican to investigate a suicide and an abbey in Romania are confronted by the same malevolent force from The Conjuring 2. With Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, ...
Updated one month ago
What’s in theaters Labor Day weekend: ‘Operation Finale,’ ‘Searching,’ ‘Kin’

What’s in theaters Labor Day weekend: ‘Operation Finale,’ ‘Searching,’ ‘Kin’

NOW PLAYING: OPERATION FINALE Oscar Isaac plays an Israeli agent tasked with spiriting Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley, right) out of Argentina to stand trial for war crimes 15 years after World War II. The case was the subject of a...
Updated one month ago