Director/writer Luca Guadagnino paints a portrait of luscious sensuality, a sublime, ethereal sensuousness; intimacy vivisected on an altar of rarefied goodness; “Call Me By Your Name” is painfully, palpably beautiful.
It is the summer of 1983 and American antiquity and archaeology Professor, “Pearlman” (insightfully wonderful Michael Stuhlbarg) invites a graduate student to spend the summer at his retreat in Crema, Italy; frozen in time, cobblestone streets, inhabitants, free to explore their untethered passions, intellectual and intimate. On this idyllic landscape arrives “Oliver” (Armie Hammer), his sculptural monumentality dominates, pulsates from the screen; the camera, with the purest of perfection, carves a contemporary Adonis, gloriously alive, his attributes rival any antiquity; he hypnotizes all who enter his sphere; nubile “Elio”, Professor Pearlman’s seventeen-year-old son (enchanting Timothee Chalamet) is transfixed, transformed by Oliver’s stupefying charisma.
As the summer and their relationship intensives, the roles switch, Elio becomes the aggressive, passionate counterpart to Oliver’s cautious, hesitant demeanor; colossus versus robust resolve, cloaked in fragility; desire, joy and love are redolent in their encounters, concluding in authentic respect.
The protagonists are “Jews of discretion”, comfortable in their uniqueness as members of a “lost tribe”; “wandering”, exiled no longer, freed from stifling, suffocating prejudice; the world is fodder for their cerebral, professional, personal growth.
As in “I Am Love”, Guadagnino divines humanity’s emotional depth, exhumes for all to behold, what few possess, the capacity to love, without boundaries, or parameters, dive, without restraint or trepidation into a sanctified abyss, that only the heart can truly interpret.