First of all, this review is in no way objective – I will probably never be able to write an objective review about this book, or this film. Because I love the book, and I think it’s brilliant, superior, and masterful (and by extension, the film as well).
But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!
My synopsis: In the northern part of Italy, along the Italian Riviera – a 17-year old intellectual and musically talented young man, Elio, forms an unlikely, unexpected, but unforgettable bond with the 24-year-old charming and intelligent Oliver, who stays at Elio’s family mansion during the summer.
Written by André Aciman
First published in January 2007
Genre: contemporary, romance, coming-of-age
Themes: love, desire, sexuality, soulmates
I was lucky to have discovered this gem of a book a couple of months ago now, I saw a random article about Armie Hammer’s voice (because his voice is worth an article or two, believe me) and the audiobook version of this book narrated by him was mentioned (he also plays Oliver in the film version).
Call me by your name, and I’ll call you by mine.
The iconic (and eponymous) line evokes rawness and the romance between these two people – these souls so entangled and twined and so alike, they become as one. More than the plot itself and the charming cast of characters, I fell in love with Andre Aciman’s writing.
Prose at its finest, André Aciman weaves a tale of daring beauty. Call Me By Your Name is sensual and alluring to the reader as Elio discovers desire and genuine connection – a classic in its own right, in its own time.
For anyone who appreciates a beautiful prose, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND for you to read this one. And when you do, let me know what you think – I would love to engage in a discussion with you!
Released in November 2017
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Written by James Ivory
Starring Timothée Chalamet (Elio) and Armie Hammer (Oliver)
Let me just say that my soul was as tortured as Elio’s while I waited for this film to be released in our area (this is when I really wanted to move to LA, all for a film).
I finally saw it last Thursday and it was worth the wait. I wanted to deliver a gushing review right away, but I waited.
I cannot believe how much the cast of characters fit the roles – I could not have imagined a better Elio, a better Oliver. I was most impressed by Timothée Chalamet’s performance, he was every bit what I wanted Elio to be and more. He delivered such powerful expressions and convincing emotions in his voice, in his face, in his gestures. He switched between three languages so flawlessly (later, I learned that he is fluent in English and French, but had to learn Italian for 1 1/2 months before taping) and phenomenally played in the piano a rendition of Bach, Liszt, and Busoni seemingly effortlessly (in an interview, he said that he also had to practice for the piano scenes as he hadn’t played the piano for years). STUPEFACENTE!
Armie Hammer, meanwhile, is an ideal Oliver – his voice, his handsome classical look, and beautiful physique, lends a certain charm but also creates the perfect balance to the aloof side of Oliver who says goodbye simply with a terse, “Later!” He’s a beauty to behold on screen, not unlike the classical Greek sculptures, “as if they’re daring you to desire them” but yet he delivered a certain playfulness to Oliver’s character.
Michael Stuhlbarg and Amira Casar brought Mr. and Mrs. Perlman to life, making these characters even more engaging. Esther Garrel as Marzia was wonderful as well and I couldn’t help but root for her, no matter what I knew about the plot.
Though this is a combined review, I didn’t want to discuss the book-to-film differences. It suggests that the two are somehow incomplete – but I tell you, both deserve merits independent of each other.
If you haven’t gotten the message yet, I also recommend this film (just keep an open mind!) If you’re a film buff, you don’t want to miss this. It won’t be a surprise if this film wins the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay – we will see!
Also, if you’re interested, here’s what the author has to say about the film!
Thank you for reading!
Have you read it? Have you seen it? Let me know, let me know!!