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Arts and Entertainment Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 4 years ago

'Call Me By Your Name' captivates from the opening credits onward

Phenomenal acting and breathtaking scenery combine for a beautiful look on a forbidden romance.

"Call Me By Your Name" lures you into its web at the moment it begins. As the opening credits roll, the enchanting music alone suggests this might be an emotionally charged film. And that it is.

Set in 1983, "somewhere in northern Italy," a professor and his family welcome an American research assistant into their home during the summer. The 17-year-old son, Elio (Timothee Chalamet), is immediately drawn to the handsome 24-year-old graduate student, Oliver (Armie Hammer), who initially comes off as somewhat arrogant. But their relationship slowly evolves into one of powerful attraction to one another.

Oliver becomes Elio's first love and lover. A mutual respect blossoms into a tender romance. And although they don't eventually fall into the category of "star-crossed lovers," each comprehends the inevitability of where their relationship is headed.

Based on the acclaimed novel by Andre Acimen, director Luca Guadagnino ("A Bigger Splash") and screenwriter James Ivory ("Howards End") have created a multi-faceted treatise on the pursuit of human desire. And they do so with compassionate fragility. At no time does one feel the need to pass judgement or feel uncomfortable about anything which plays out on screen. Spectacular scenery is almost as powerful as the compelling story. An outstanding score peppered with piano solos and striking singular chords further intensify the beauty that exudes throughout this touching piece of filmmaking. 

Chalamet and Hammer share chaotic and charismatic chemistry as two individuals who take a courageous chance on what feels right in their hearts. But in a powerful and surprising scene Michael Stulhbarg, who plays Elio's loving father, almost steals the show. At the end when he sees his son in tears, he delivers a riveting and unforgettable monologue.

As the closing credits roll, the camera is fixated on Chalamet for an extended period of time. The range of emotions that wordlessly play out on this young and extremely talented actor's face are astounding. "Call Me By Your Name" will grab at your heartstrings and pluck away long after exiting the theater. 

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