Updated: Jul 8
"Call Me By Your Name," a rich and vivid masterwork about first love set amid northern Italy's warm, sunny sky, soft breezes, and beautiful, tree-lined lanes. Guadagnino takes his time building this place and its inhabitants.
He's patient in his lacing and pacing of the movie, and you should be, too.
But, to be honest, what's the rush?
It's the summer of 1983, and there's nothing better to do except read, play the piano, think about classic art, and pick peaches and apricots from the orchards.
Luca Guadagnino's latest film, based on André Aciman's 2007 novel about a bright 17-year-old who falls in lust and love with his father's 24-year-old doctoral student, is extraordinary for its transformation of literature into pure cinema, all emotion, and picture and an intoxicating experience.
"Call Me By Your Name closes on a poetic, bittersweet note, with Sufjan Stevens' wistful, synthy "Visions of Gideon" playing during the film's agonizing last shot."
Set in breathtaking Northern Italy during the summer of 1983, Call Me By Your Name follows Elio, a talented, sensitive 17-year-old who is smitten by Oliver, the dashing, charismatic but slightly reticent 24-year-old who moves into Elio's villa to study with Elio's decorated scholar father, Lyle.
Over a succession of calm, humid days and nights, Elio attempts to suppress his growing affections for this stranger, who appears to be too preoccupied with the local women to notice.
Eventually, though, a relationship blooms through a sequence of subtle glances and charming gestures.
But, given that Oliver will only be staying for a few months, how long can it last?
It's difficult to articulate Call Me by Your Name into words. One might call 'Call Me by Your Name' an erotic film, and it most surely is but in a larger sense than our present restricted definition of the term; not simply sex, but also love, which is greater and more terrifying.
Eros is a word for a type of love that is equal parts passion and anguish, an irrational heart fire that opens the door to something more permanent.
But love may sometimes feel like a headlong plunge off a cliff in the heat of the moment.
There are very few movies that better convey that type of insanity and hyper-awareness of not just the object of desire but also the universe at large.
Nor is there any other film that more directly appeals to all of the audience's senses in order to make them feel what's going on screen.
It's undeniably a queer love story; however, it's about coming of age rather than coming out.
Call Me by Your Name is a luscious, euphoric sensation for the body that also serves as arousal for the spirit.
Luca Guadagnino's films are all about the transformational power of nature, how it allows our true selves to come through and stimulates us to chase our secret interests.
Guadagnino vividly portrays the world around us as almost a character in itself, driving the plot, encouraging the other characters to be daring, and inviting us to feel as if we, too, are a part of this alluring atmosphere.
The most powerful aspect of "Call Me By Your Name" may not even be the relationship itself, but the nagging sense that it won't last, which Guadagnino depicts through lengthy takes and masterful use of stillness.
Everything, from the choosing of a certain outfit to the taste of perfectly ripe peach, has a sad tinge to it.