Life Itself

“Call me by your name” by Luca Guadagnino

My thoughts on the film straight after seeing it

(NB – spoiler alert, does not give away whole plot but some key moments, so do not read if you want to watch the film).

When I think about the last 2+ hours of the “movie”, that I would rather call one long scintillating journey of the senses, all I can think to say is I am in a state of wonder, vulnerability, left feeling exposed, grieved, hopeful, overwhelmed, enamoured and in love with the rare moments of beauty life may choose to offer us. Secretly craving them, all the while grateful for this film showing them – even if it was behind a screen, I felt as if I could taste, touch, smell and feel all it had to offer.

The way the father spoke to his son was the moment I really felt my inner parts break into pieces. The truth, the vulnerabilities, the love, the strength of character he manages to show and the words and lessons he chooses to share at that point.

Wisdom beyond the wise and for a man who himself was trapped inside a life of partial masquerade… within the within.

It touched me so very much at that moment. How a father can connect with his own son on a matter so close to his heart makes total sense and yet seemed revolutionary and a rarity. A true treasured moment.

The tears were already starting to trickle before that point but then the intensity of their flow increased. I grieved with Elio for his first heartbreak a little, but then I felt his father’s words penetrate between so many layers within me that my soul was shaken. I wish I had such words spoken to me in such a way. But I am glad I heard them now. I felt at that moment I was Elio and the father all at once; mind = blown.

Find joy in the joys and acknowledge the woes.

The way Elio stood up to Oliver – his audacious bravery intertwined with naïveté and fear of the unknown or feeling “wrong” within himself, was simply beautiful.

And the way every shot panned across to nature, some sort of tree dance. I must find out the significance of the trees, maybe there isn’t one – I suppose the fact trees are a good way of showing seasons – maybe… but coupled with the unforgettable music choices (quelle variété), it instantly made me forgive some of the awkward pretentiousness of the start and the awe-defining set up, that almost seemed too good to be true, and yet, again, like their almost unrealistic characters on the surface, was truly believable. But then as the story unveiled, I realise even their precociousness is what allowed the characters to seem even more vulnerable when their innocence was exposed. And how the father commented on that exact nature, the unimportance of intelligence in the things that matter – being good and kind is what it comes down to.

Again the simplest of concepts came across in such a deep and touching way, it reverberated so deeply, I felt the seismic waves of truth shake me. As if I had just woken up to the dream we call life and realised all the things I keep saying don’t matter really do matter, and the things that I bother about, really do not matter.

I love the concept of being called by your name. That was another simple yet powerful tool of language. How rarely we embrace our inner selves, how hard it is to be proud of who we are and say our own name out loud. What a fantastic lesson of self-expression.

I even loved how Elio grew more handsome and his posture improved so much, by the end he was like a stiff pole – so straight.

Clever little look by Elio down the camera in the penultimate moment – rarely done and almost broke the spell. As if the director knew his audience would have to be woken again to real life and break out of the mindful spell.

I give it an easy Five stars. I didn’t fidget during the film – for me that is a very good sign. Also makes me wish I can experience such an authentic and beautiful love like that one day… but not to lose it! And yet the real beauty is the reminder that we can all live and love and lose all in the space of a summer, not just a lifetime.

Oh and lastly – peaches will never be the same again!

image from the film

Edited by Tamara Karni Cohen