Oscar & BAFTA winning film is a beautifully photographed love letter to Northern Italy

Call Me By Your Name

Set during a hot and seemingly endless summer, this beautifully photographed film is a love letter to Northern Italy, telling the minutely observed story of Elio, a grumpy teenager played with remarkable authenticity by Timothée Chalamet, and Oliver, the family’s improbably handsome houseguest, played by Armie Hammer.

Set in the early 80s, the characters (and by implication the film) defy the times and expectation by responding to their burgeoning romance with understanding and good grace, almost to the point of indifference. The message – as epitomised by the Michael Stuhlbarg’s nicely understated performance as the boy’s father –is a quiet acceptance of that which does no harm to others, as director Guadagnino captures to perfection the petulant intensity of young love, consummated during one long, languorous summer, and never to be repeated.

It is a summer break defined by piano playing, a whole lot of swimming, and endless alfresco diners, and there are times when the duration of the film – at two hours plus – feels a little indulgent. But in taking its time to get under the skin of ordinary people – albeit hugely privileged people – there’s an authenticity to this portrait of folk getting by in the circumstances they find themselves, and doing so with humanity and kindness.

James Ivory (A Room With A View) won an Oscar and a Bafta for his screenplay for Call me By Your Name.

By David Vass