Forbidden love. Unrequited love. Sure, these instances of connecting with another person are relatable for many. There’s just something about unexplainable, passionate love. Yes, I realize that in movies, the passionate love is usually between very attractive people of means and privilege. Or at the very least, turns love into an arc that resembles something more than a pulpy romance novel. It may still be a movie, but it’s the feeling we’re left with that matters. For the majority of CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, I connected to the passionate love felt between our two main characters. Also, how sweaty summer boredom can often lead to curiosity. Then something unexplainable happened to me, I began crying uncontrollably at the sight of a father talking to his son about embracing everything about love, including the pain. Finally, the film ends every bit as perfectly as last year’s MOONLIGHT.
Instead of going on and on about why I think this is one of the year’s most sublime movies, I’d rather just let it all wash over you the way it did for me. One of the highlights includes the slow pan of the camera towards an open window, while two characters physically connect for the first time. Let these two people have their moment together. There’s nothing absolutely remarkable about their attraction. It just happens. Whereas something like THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER explores why death can just happen, randomly, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME explores why lust and love can just happen randomly. We hold on like all true love is profound and meaningful, especially when we are young and coming-of-age, but the future usually has other plans. Then we learn a life lesson. Then someone else may come along. I’m not sure if the portrayal of unannounced frenzied desire will resonate with everyone, but at the very least, you’ll enjoy spending time in this world with these characters. Then Michael Stuhlbarg announces why he’s one of our best actors working today. You’ll know it when it happens.