“Call Me by Your Name”

Last night, I watched “Call Me by Your Name” and found my reaction was surprisingly uneven. I’d love to know what other viewers thought about the film. Please comment! The first issue was the rudeness as displayed by Oliver, arriving and crashing on the bed, skipping dinner on his first night with a new family (and other times), and his overall thoughtless and unlikable behavior. Whether the filmmaker/writer was trying to portray an arrogant American dropped into a sophisticated household or to set up the character’s later change into a more sensitive man, I had trouble feeling any sympathy for Oliver and–other than he looked like a handsome god–couldn’t believe that Elio would fall for him, except in a very plastic way, which didn’t seem to fit Elio’s deep personality. This was a big hurdle to get over, one I never quite managed. The father’s conversations with his son also grated. Why was he whining about never having the same kind of love (as Oliver and Elio) in his life when it seemed that he and his wife were quite close and a great couple? Felt a little like the father-son dialogues were an opportunity to moralize and “tell” us some of the movie’s themes in case we were too dim to figure them out. Give me the depth and complexity of “Brokeback Mountain” any day. While I applaud the subtle and beautiful nature of the film, it needed to begin with the Oliver character less obnoxious so we didn’t have to travel so far to get into the relationship.

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About Laury A. Egan

The author of "The Outcast Oracle" (A Kirkus Reviews "Best Book of 2013"); "Fog and Other Stories'" a psychological suspense novel, "Jenny Kidd'" and "Fabulous! An Opera Buffa" (forthcoming, 2018). Poetry: two full-length collections: "Snow, Shadows, a Stranger" and "Beneath the Lion's Paw;" and a chapbook, "The Sea & Beyond," all issued in limited editions. For many years, she worked as a senior designer and administrator for Princeton University Press and later as a freelancer for 20 publishers.
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