Film review: Call me by your name

Very much unlike the film, I’m writing about, I’ll get straight to the point.

Call Me by your Name is the penultimate best picture nominee I have vowed to review ahead of the Oscars. It’s also the one I’ve heard the least about so I was curious to see what merit the academy had deemed it fit.

The story focuses on Elio, a 17-year-old Jewish Italian/American and his coming of age in 1983 Italy. He has a love affair with his father’s 24-year-old research assistant played by Armie Hammer. That’s it. Nothing else really happens.

However, there are things to like in this film. It features fantastically convincing performances from all of the cast. Timoth√©e Chalamet, in particular, is asked to do a lot of heavy lifting and has rightly earned his Oscar nomination. The cinematography is very bright and sunny and it’s a very relaxing watch. You can feel the warmth and charm of rural Italy seeping through the screen and the desire to join the characters paddling in rivers or drinking wine in the evenings is palpable.

As I mentioned though, it’s not the most riveting experience. The story meanders and dozes through a 132-minute run-time that feels a tad unnecessary. The lethargic mood of the subject matter transfers to the viewer fairly often. There’s no real conflict to the story. Every character is nice and reasonable and consequently, they all get along swimmingly.

Call me by your name¬†focuses on capturing an atmosphere rather than spinning a tale and in that goal it does succeed. This does place it towards the lower end of the nominee scale for me though because I can’t foresee any desire to re-watch it. I’m a simple man. I like a compelling story.

There’s also a really weird scene where Elio does something unmentionable to a peach and I don’t think I’d be ready to watch that if I lived to be 100.