Who is this blogger and what business does she have here???

I’m a Film Studies and English: Writing major at Winona State University. This semester, I’ll be releasing content for my series “Helpful or Harmful? The Depiction of LGBTQIA+ People in Contemporary Film.” I will be giving my thoughts and critiquing representation of the LGBTQIA+ community in movies today as a member of the community myself. I hope you’ll stick around! I’ll be releasing new content every Friday alternating between written and video film reviews.



Adapted from the novel by André Acimen, the film, Call Me By Your Name, follows young Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) who is spending the summer in Italy with his family in 1983. Oliver (Armie Hammer) is an older doctoral student working as an intern for Elio’s father and staying with the family. Elio and Oliver develop a close friendship which eventually blossoms into a secret relationship. During one incredible summer in the Italian countryside, the two boys help one another grow and discover themselves. 

The Relationship Between Elio & Oliver

I didn’t know what to expect before I watched Call Me By Your Name. I certainly hadn’t expected to see Timothée Chalamet sensually fondle a peach, but this was one of many lingering shots that signaled the movie’s emphasis on sexuality. As the film is set in 1983, being gay had become more socially acceptable by then but was also still quite taboo compared to how far the LGBTQIA+ community has come today. It was evident that both Elio and Oliver were afraid to let anybody find out about their relationship. They communicated through notes that they left each other and met up for late night rendezvous so nobody would be around to catch them. Though their love for each other would be subject to judgment and scrutiny in the 1980s setting, especially the sexual aspect of their relationship, this film does a great job of showcasing gay sex positivity. While very passionate, idealistic scenes are shown, the viewer also sees that sex can be awkward, e.g., Elio using a peach to masterbate. Showing very real and unfiltered components of a sexual relationship could be relatable to viewers or serve to educate them, as gay sex is still often a taboo topic in sex education today. Before Elio and Oliver begin a sexual relationship, they share a kiss. Oliver pushes Elio away and says “we haven’t done anything we should be ashamed of yet” and he communicates that he wants to keep it that way which is another realistic example of how gay people were viewed in the 1980s. A controversial aspect of this film was the age difference between Elio and Oliver who are 17 and 24. In real life, the actors share a ten year age difference. This choice received criticism and backlash as the difference had and has the potential to make viewers uncomfortable. 

Scenery in Call Me By Your Name

The scenery in this movie surely does not disappoint. The Italian countryside makes for a beautiful and fitting setting for such a meaningful romance. As the viewer gets a glimpse into the thrilling, yet emotional fling of Elio and Oliver, the story finds them in multiple picturesque locations such as aged brick roads lined with pretty buildings or lakes in the middle of fields of flowers. There are also many lingering shots that capture the beauty of Italy that simultaneously capture the complexity as well as the high points of Elio and Oliver’s relationship. The character’s frequent use of bicycles also works as a great way for more scenery to be captured on screen. 

The Importance of Light

Light is used to help convey the tone of this film. It seems that when Elio and Oliver are at their happiest, they’re in a bright setting under the sun. When they’re reminded that they have to keep their relationship a secret, they’re in the dark and at times, their moods change and they are not as happy as they remember the situation. 

Final Thoughts

Call Me By Your Name is an aesthetically pleasing film chalk full of depth and heartache. It’s an invitation to immerse yourself in the complex, emotional, and meaningful world of Elio and Oliver.