Summer of Love - Call Me By Your Name (REVIEW)
It seems as though every year there is one critically adored “gay love story” film, this year it is Call Me By Your Name. My problem with these films is that they often devolve into, “where can we kiss in secret next?” and not really much else. It feels like people just give it a pass because it is rude to call a film about gay people anything less than good and that to me is kind of a bummer because it should be judged like any other film. This was one I was hoping would be different from that genre and the results were mixed. I enjoyed the setting and the characters therein and the build up and aftermath of it all was great with a couple real stand out scenes. it was just when they are fully into it that I found the story lost my interest. Thankfully they didn't feel the need to show graphic sex scenes as some in this genre might want to do. Ridley Scott said it best “sex is only fun when you're the one doing it.” I appreciate the film's attempts to make their love challenging not because of it's taboo but because of it's fleeting “summer fling” nature. Oliver is only there to help out with a research project for a few weeks which basically dooms the relationship from the start. But what I would have liked was more than just an infatuation in the leads, I need a genuine liking for me to buy what the film is selling and I didn't quite get that, there were flashes of it but never concrete feelings.
What this film does have is a very keen sense of summer living in the country. I could feel the sun and the grass under feet, the breezes on bike rides, the laid back calm of a time away from responsibility. In that regard this film is transportive. There are scenes where Elio is just reading, or writing music and that's it and that just lends itself to the feel of the film. The tone the director strikes with the film is without fault embracing the world of relaxation and discovery.
The acting is equally stellar with fantastic performances from all involved. I often caught myself realizing I was watching actors and not real people, all that done not by doing everything steadicam for a sense of “you're there” but in the setting and the natural way in which these characters act and speak creating what feels like a moment captured in time, something movies based on true stories have a hard time capturing. It is not afraid of letting sequences play out and reward is the feeling of warm summer days of care free enjoyment.
If you are one to enjoy films like Moonlight or Blue is the Warmest Color you are likely to find something to like here. You aren't likely to get any people converting to the genre with this one however. It treads familiar ground but with an excellent lead performance to create a serviceable summer love story.
A Solid Summer Fling