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Laura Blum

Laura is a festival correspondent covering films and the festival circuit for She also publishes on Thalo



"Call Me by Your Name" at the 55th New York Film Festival

Call Me by Your Name is drenched with sun, yet it’s only a partly sunny affair. Luca Guadagnino’s smart and sensuous adaptation of André Aciman’s novel basks the splendors of Northern Italy in the summertime, which is to say, at some point things will turn wintry.

Fortunately for Eden’s eventual expulsé, humanity has tender mercies to soften the fall. How else could a father comfort a son as generously as Professor Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) undertakes with his 17-year-old, Elio (Timothée Chalamet), in the throes of his first real heartbreak? If you’re as empathic as that dad--and as familiar with Montaigne’s writings about Étienne de La Boétie--you point out the “special friendship” that the lovesick swain was lucky enough to have experienced.

The object of Elio’s dashed affections is Oliver, the hunky American grad student Perlman père invited for that summer of 1983 to help research Greco-Roman sculpture. It was hardly love at first sight. Oliver’s laconic manner first seemed too duddish for Elio’s European-honed tastes, while at the same time his bookish edge intimidated. Besides, there were other claims on Elio’s attention: When the budding pianist wasn’t transcribing sheet music, he was consorting with his Parisian friend-soon-to-include-benefits, Marzia (Esther Garrel) and speaking French, Italian and English to his literary-minded mom (Amira Casar). Add to this sketch that Elio’s room in the family’s 17th-century villa now went to the six-week intruder. Still, those baby blues. That devastating charm. And the solicitious, socially attuned graces…