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Call Me by Your Name is a 2017 coming-of-age movie. Taking place in Italy and directed by Luca Guadagnino, it follows the love story of 17-year-old Elio and Oliver, who is in his mid-twenties. The two meet when Oliver moves into Elio’s house as a research assistant to Elio’s father. The relationship between Elio and Oliver begins as a friendship, starting with a very simple conversation. However, as the story progresses, Elio’s attraction toward Oliver grows and he confesses his feelings to Oliver. Although Oliver initially rejects the idea of Elio having feelings for him, he realizes that he too is into Elio, and they begin their secret relationship. 

The film explores the relationship between Elio and Oliver, which starts out confusing but evolves into the purest form of love. Now, let me tell you why I’m even talking about this movie. This movie left me with an intense, indescribable feeling that still stuck with me after watching it years ago. The portrayal of their relationship and the love between them is one of the most beautiful and simplistic things I’ve ever seen in cinema. The film captures the most honest display of passion and love between the two men, which is so intense that I could feel their attraction through the screen. One thing that caught my attention was that the director uses very little dialogue to convey the relationship. He shows moments where the characters slightly touch, glance at each other, or brush past each other to show their growing attraction while keeping it all a secret. I think using actions rather than words is what made this movie more impactful. Watching the characters blush and smile while merely glancing at each other really made me fall in love with the love between them. 

Felicity Warner / HCM

The director also portrays the love between Elio and Oliver as forbidden. These two characters cannot be together no matter how much they try, and you know that the love story is destined for doom from the start. I knew the relationship wouldn’t work out from the movie’s beginning. The director leaves multiple breadcrumbs for the audience to pick up on which tells us the fate of their relationship. Knowing that their relationship wouldn’t work left me with a feeling of hopelessness and sorrow amidst the beauty of it all. The ending scene of Elio silently crying when Oliver announces that he is getting married is one of the movie’s saddest yet most touching scenes. Elio realizes that he can never be with the person he loves, yet he reminisces over the good times he had with him. Elio crying and thinking about Oliver impacted me in a way that I cannot put into words. The scene made me shed a lot of tears and sob my heart out, but later smile because you can see that this relationship enabled Elio to grow and mature as a person and that he will always have a love for Oliver. This scene taught me that not everyone that comes into my life is meant to stay; they are only meant to teach you a lesson or show you experiences that you would never experience. 

The emotion I felt during this was bittersweet. The initial interactions between Elio and Oliver were so pure and gentle that I had to fall in love with them. However, as the movie progressed and I realized that the characters couldn’t be together, an overwhelming feeling of heartache emerged and I saw things differently. The balance between heartbreak and love is painted so gracefully through the use of visuals, body language, and silence, which added to the overall impact of this movie. Every single scene is perfectly calibrated and every emotion felt by the characters is felt by the audience. 

After the movie, everyone is left with a lingering, indescribable feeling that makes you wonder about what happens next. Call Me by Your Name is a masterpiece; each scene, each dialogue, and each movement is perfectly calculated, and I can never forget how it made me feel, making it an unexpected masterpiece. 

I am second year student majoring in Cognitive Science and minoring in Computer Science at UC Davis. In my free time, I like to watch movies, try new coffee shops and go on walks.