LGBTQ-Themed Film Galvanizes Indie Circuit

Chalamet and Hammer (right)
Photo courtesy of IMDB

By GABRIELLA BOCK | Reporter

Italian director Luca Guadagnino’s upcoming romantic-drama “Call Me by Your Name” is an intimate portrayal of first love.

Based on a Proustian novel by André Aciman, this delicately melancholic film is an atypical coming-of-age story that transcends the genre with its languorous pacing and sensual allure.

Set in 1980s Northern Italy, the film stars Timothée Chalamet as 17-year-old Elio, an intellectually precocious music student listlessly moving through the summer at his parents’ villa Arcadia.

Under idyllic, sun-kissed skies, Elio bides his time composing music, swimming in crystal lakes and bussing around with beautiful Italian girls—that is, until Oliver, a handsome older man and former student of Elio’s professor father, comes to stay with the family.

Starring opposite Chalamet is Palisadian-grown actor (and scion of the Arm & Hammer dynasty) Armie Hammer as Elio’s latest—and most confusing—lustful obsession.

At 31, Hammer has enjoyed a career of highs and lows: he was praised for playing both Winklevoss twins in “The Social Network” and nominated for a Screen Actor’s Guild award for again playing a real-life character Clyde Tolson in “J. Edgar.”

And then there was “The Lone Ranger.”

In this bold new film as the relationship between the protagonists quietly develops, the discomfort and uncertainty that comes as part of youth is demonstrated through subtle camera movements and a beautiful score by balladeer Sufjan Stevens.

Breathtakingly atmospheric with graceful tenderness, the film has already been lauded by critics for its mesmerizing cinematography and leisurely brilliant performances by both Chalamet and Hammer.

“I like to think this is a movie for families, and it’s a family film,” Guadagnino said at a Q&A after a screening of the movie at The Toronto Independent Film Festival. “It’s about the invisible bonds that create the people we are and how the transmission of emotions and knowledge and the capacity of compassion between generations and people transform people for the best. It’s utopic, maybe, but why not?”

Keep this one on your radar—“Call Me by Your Name” arrives in theaters Nov. 24.