One of the year’s most elegant features, Call Me by Your Name is highlighted by a breakout turn by Timothée Chalamet (also seen in the terrific Lady Bird) as a 17-year-old discovering love and sexuality with an older man (Armie Hammer) in 1983 Italy. Admittedly, today’s current sexual abuse climate does cast a small pall over the relationship between Hammer’s older Oliver and Chalamet’s teenage Elio. As filmed by Luca Guadagnino and acted by Chalamet and Hammer, Elio and Oliver’s slow, seductive dance is sweet, erotic and eloquent, not cruel or manipulative.
The film stands tall amongst its mostly predictable coming-of-age brethren. Michael Stuhlbarg puts in yet another potent turn as Elio’s understanding father; it really seems to be a two-way race for 2017’s most valuable supporting actor, as the ubiquitous Stuhlbarg is neck and neck with the equally abundant Tracy Letts. Still, the film belongs to Chalamet, who may be Gary Oldman’s only real challenger for Best Actor. Moviegoers hoping to not just be seduced but to fall in love need look no further for a meaningfully erotic match. Surprisingly, a sequel is in the works.
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