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This page contains reviews of films seen during the months of April to June 2018

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“Call Me By Your Name” - This is an exquisitely photographed film with some breathtaking performances, particularly by Timothée Chalomet, the young actor who plays Elio, a precocious boy of seventeen. Elio is the son of an American professor of antiquities (the ubiquitous and wonderful Michael Stuhlbarg) who owns a villa in the northern Italian countryside at which the family spends summers and holidays. Each year, the professor invites a new student to be his research assistant and on this occasion (1983), that student is a tall handsome man of twenty-four named Oliver (Armie Hammer). Elio already has a romantic interest, a young beautiful French girl named Marzia (Esther Garrel). But although the obviously highly intelligent and educated Oliver acts somewhat nasty and arrogant when he first arrives, something clicks between him and Elio and a completely different romantic relationship develops. Luca Guadagnino’s direction is best described by this lovely and accurate language from the rave review by Manohla Dargis in The New York Times: “In Mr. Guadagnino’s work, passion and drama are expressed in words, deeds and surging music but also in the vibrant, visceral textures that envelop his characters — the cool marble, succulent fruit, shadow and light, sheens of sweat.” That said, I still have a few criticisms. First, the scenes of physical interaction between Elio and Oliver are overdone and uncomfortable to watch (and I’d say that even if it were a heterosexual relationship). Second, there seems little concern about the age difference, including in an almost impossible to believe scene in which Elio’s father admits total awareness of the relationship between Oliver and Elio and shows absolutely no concerns despite Elio’s rather sensitive age. Timothée Chalamet’s performance is a revelation and deserved the Oscar nomination it received. Also of note is Esther Garrel, the young French actress, whose expression is memorable when she realizes that the boy she is involved with is now involved in a homosexual relationship. (Primarily in English but also with some Italian, French, German, and Hebrew). A- (4/3/18)

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