Apricots, Bicycles, and Two Boys in Love

My God, I didn’t know they could show such lewd things on screen.

Despite the lack of any full frontal nudity, Luca Guadagnino’s newest film “Call Me by Your Name” still manages to entice audiences with promises of passionate man-on-man, and occasional man-on-fruit action. But that isn’t the only reason so many people came out to see it. Warning, spoilers are ahead.

“Call Me by Your Name” takes place in Italy during the 80s. It follows the story of a rich 17-year-old boy named Elio who meets a slightly older American researcher named Oliver, who could be described as a “Chad.” Oliver stays with Elio (who’s more of a twink) during the summer. The two slowly discover their romantic interest in each other despite Oliver’s inevitable departure back to America after six weeks and the fact that they can only be together in secrecy.

Actors Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer, who play Elio and Oliver, respectively, give quite convincing performances of two people who fall head over heels in love. They are playful around each other and experiment in the bedroom like it was actually their first time despite both being straight in real life.

Aesthetically speaking, this movie is absolutely gorgeous. Everything from the setting to the soundtrack is beautiful. The incredible shots of Northern Italy show the lush world around Elio and Oliver. The soundtrack features three new songs from Sufjan “Suffy” Stevens, a critically acclaimed musician known for making sad songs about heartbreak. Throughout “Call Me By Your Name” Suffy sings serene songs about love and such.

The movie stays away from tropes that you would expect from a young adult gay romance movie. Elio isn’t a big ball of teenage angst that hates his parents, and the movie is very subtle in dealing with the political side of having a same-sex relationship in the 80s. It’s pure feelings the entire time.

At first Elio dislikes Oliver, almost intimidated by his manliness, and thinks of him as a stereotypical disrespectful American. His distaste of Oliver soon dies down as they spend more time together and eventually decide to go easier on each other and become friends.

Unexpectedly, Elio is the one who makes the first move, despite both having a fling with a different girl. Before we know it they’re having sex and hanging out everyday. They try to make the most of each day knowing that by the end of summer they won’t see each other again.

But all good things must end. At the end of summer Elio and Oliver silently depart from each other, and Elio is left alone and crying at the train station. Despite their relationship being a secret, Elio’s parents found out about it, and do their best to calm him.

Elio and his dad, Mr. Perlman, played by Michael Stuhlbarg, have a conversation about his relationship with Oliver, where Perlman gives a heartfelt monologue about how Elio should feel now that Oliver is gone. This speech is poignant but also has the most hopeful words in the whole movie. It was the best thing Perlman could have said to his heartbroken and confused son.

“We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of 30 and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything — what a waste!” Perlman said.

Just knowing the plot doesn’t do the movie justice. What really made this movie for me was the performances, scenery, and soundtrack that make this movie a beautiful experience.

After seeing “Call Me By Your Name” I came away with the lesson that you should accept and endure the pain that comes from love, because if you try to stop it pretty soon you’ll grow up and feel numb. The ending doesn’t satisfy Elio’s desires, but we can only hope that he can look back and enjoy the experience rather than simply regretting that it’s over.

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