Call Me By Your Name Review: A Love Letter To Acceptance And Italy

Call Me By Your Name / Sony Pictures Classics

Ciao, amici!

I only took 3 months of elementary Italian so bear with me. I’m knocking out movies left and right as of late so last night, I saw Call Me By Your Name. I remember reading about the positive reception it received at Sundance 2017 so it was definitely on my radar. Almost a year later, the movie has (slowly) hit the theaters these past couple of weeks. From what I read beforehand, the movie was a critical darling with positive reviews left and right. It’s also an awards season contender in major categories such as Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Adapted Screenplay.

What did I think of it? Let’s find out.

WARNING: This review will contain some spoilers. After you watch the trailer below, scroll at your own risk.

Synopsis – Based on the 2007 novel of the same name, in Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father’s research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape.

– Right off the bat, two things stand out: the scenery and the music. If you have never been Italy, I suggest you put that on your bucket list. I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Florence so I got a small taste of what this beautiful country has to offer. The Italian countryside is on full display throughout the movie, from the magnificent villa to the small town and its surroundings. I describe it as a Love Letter To Italy. Cheesy analogy time: If the Italian countryside was peanut butter, then the music was jelly. I hate myself for saying that, but it’s true. From piano symphonies to the electronic sounds of the 80s, the music only enhanced this love letter. The movie made the audience appreciate the sights and sounds of Italy and in my case, looking up flights to travel across the pond.

– One of my initial thoughts that I mentioned to my friend was the pacing of the movie. I said to him that “this movie was well-paced.” The relationship between Elio and Oliver did not feel rushed. Each scene built up the attraction between the two. It left the audience wondering when the relationship would turn the two from friends to lovers.

– Acting was top notch. The top 3 performances, in order from 1st to 3rd, were: Timothée Chalamet (Elio), Armie Hammer (Oliver), and Michael Stuhlbarg (Mr. Perlman). Let’s start with Stuhlbarg, who played Elio’s father. I enjoyed Stuhlbarg’s performance as the caring father and that sentiment was on full display in his monologue at the end of the movie about acceptance. At a time when being gay was not always accepted (Hammer’s character said his father would have sent him to the ward if he found out about his relationship with Elio), Stulhbarg delivers a caring and passionate speech about acceptance. For 1983, Mr. Perlman was ahead of his time. He tells Elio that what he and Oliver had was special and that he should find pleasure in his grief. Not only did Luca Guadagnino direct this love letter to Italy, but it was a love letter towards acceptance as a person. Stuhlbarg even got some praise from Frank Ocean.

Critics seemed to position Stuhlbarg as a favorite for a supporting acting nomination, but I would put my eggs in Armie Hammer’s basket. His carefree, arrogant American persona provided the spark to ignite Elio’s true feelings on sexuality. Hammer played hard to get and as a viewer, you were intrigued to see if he would finally give into Elio’s feelings. That being said, this movie belongs to Chalamet. The breakout star reminded viewers of what it’s like to be 17 again during the summer. Sexual frustration, first love, young romance, how to win someone over, being a kid in the summer, etc. Gay or straight, everyone person goes through these thoughts growing up as a teenager. These were all themes that Chalamet brought to life pretty accurately. For actors that met only a few weeks before production began, the chemistry between Chalamet and Hammer was excellent. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying Timmy is a lock for a Best Acting nomination at the Oscars. Bright future for the 22 year old.

Call Me By Your Name / Sony Pictures Classic

– The Peach scene. It’s definitely going to stir up a conversation. It’s kind’ve nasty, but I get the thought process behind it. Definitely a “it goes there” type of moment.

– I actually preferred the cat and mouse game between Chalamet and Hammer as opposed to the actual relationship. It kind’ve reflects my attitude of “the thrill of chase is sometimes more fun than the relationship.” I think I was expecting more of a climatic moment when Elio and Oliver went from friends to lovers so to just get a meeting at midnight outside their bedroom was a bit of letdown for me. It did not hold the same significance to me as their encounter in Elio’s secret spot or their final goodbye in Bergamo.

Final Thoughts: This was a nice, well-paced movie that highlighted growing up and acceptance. I loved the scenic views of Italy and music to compliment the vibrant mood. Very well acted, lead by Chalamet, Hammer, and Stuhlbarg. A new and enjoyable take on a love story. Who wants to spend a summer in Italy now?

7.6/10

Daily Mix Report Podcast Episode 30 – Tommy G

Tommy G returned to the dungeon to talk about post abroad life. If you don’t remember, we had Big Tom on before his trip to Italy. We soon found out that Tommy lived large in Italy. Traveling, crazy stories, the whole nine yards. We covered it all so enjoy the interview.

Cheat Sheet

Tommy G joined the boys in the dungeon to discuss his recent study abroad trip to Italy. We talked about the end of Ladies Night at Murphy’s (2:00 – 8:20), Tommy’s trip abroad / memorable stories / favorite trips (8:20 – 32:00).

Don’t forget, subscribe on iTunes, rate, comment, shit on us. Do whatever you want.

iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-30-tommy-g-and-the-new-york-knicks/id1232967032?i=1000388974321&mt=2

Soundcloud – 

 

Daily Mix Report Podcast Episode 22 – Study Abroad Edition Featuring Tommy G

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The boys of the DMR are back with our first podcast of 2017, and we were joined live in studio by Tommy G (DG’s bro), as he gears up to leave for Florence, Italy at the end of the month. Dan and LTS dish out some knowledge about studying abroad as Florence veterans from the class of ’14.

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It happens to be the place where the idea for our website was born. DG actually made a huge study guide on the ins and outs of the city, even though its been three years since our departure. We went into some of our favorite places to visit, clubs and threw in some great stories along the way as we do our best to prep big Tom on the journey he will be embarking on.

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We also got into sports toward the end as we discussed the NFL Playoffs, Derrick Rose going missing and the state of the Knicks season now.

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Enjoy these pics from our trip as well.

The Amanda Knox Documentary Reminded Me That This Could Happen To Anyone And That Scares Me

Who killed Meredith Kercher?

 

Credit: Netflix
Netflix

Last night, I decided to watch Amanda Knox on Netflix and it not disappoint. For a refresher, Amanda Knox was an American student who was charged with the 2007 murder of her housemate, Meredith Kercher, in Perguia, Italy. Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, who was also charged with murder, spent almost four years in prison before they were acquitted in 2011. After an Italian appeals court recharged Knox and Sollecito in 2014, Italy’s Supreme Court overturned the murder convictions, officially closing the case. Watch the powerful trailer for the documentary below.

****If you wish to watch the documentary before hearing what I have to say so you can form your own opinion first, stop reading right now.****

Powerful, tense trailer for a spine-tingling and gut-wrenching documentary. First and foremost, true crime movies/ documentaries are at an all-time high. Making a Murderer, OJ: Made in America and The Jinx all proved that you don’t need to make up an elaborate story to generate interest. Give people real life stories with real life people. Have the viewers feel the raw emotion of the characters and make them decide what to believe. Amanda Knox was no different.

It was hard to remember some of the details going into the documentary, but I knew who Amanda Knox was and I bet you had at least heard of her name, too. I totally forgot about the third suspect, Rudy Guede, and how he is the only one out of the three that is still in jail. Well now you get her side of the story with input from Raffaele Sollecito, the lead Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, journalist Nick Pisa, and more. You really get to see how people from different perspectives, whether involved in the case or as a spectator, viewed this terrible tragedy and the crazy aftermath that followed.

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Knox and Sollecito, 2007. Telegraph

I had two takeaways from this documentary. The first one is the realistic ramifications of the saga. THIS STORY COULD HAPPEN TO ANYONE! Girl studies abroad. Girl meets local boy. Girl falls in love. Girl gets caught up in bad situation. Girls gets scared by police in foreign country. Girl ends up in jail. It doesn’t have even have to be a girl. It could be a boy in this situation. This is obviously a horror story, but it is a horror story that could happen to anyone. Imagine being jailed in a foreign country with an ocean separating from you and your family? I have never spent time in jail, but I can’t even think about doing time in a foreign jail without getting a sick feeling in my stomach. It’s scary to comprehend. It’s easy to get into a bad situation. It’s hard to get out of one.

I studied abroad in Florence, Italy during the Spring of 2014. During this time, Knox and Sollecito were convicted of murder again by an appeals court.  Although Florence is about 2 hours north of Perguia, this new trial was being held in Florence. I wasn’t located near the courthouse so I won’t say I was on the front lines of battle, but it was still crazy to think that the trial of a murder that happened seven years ago was still relevant in the very city that I was staying in.

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Meredith Kercher

The second biggest takeaway is how the media can shape a case. If you watch the documentary, you will see how things spun out of control. Nick Pisa talked about how this case became juicier and juicer for the media to cover. The questionable myspace pictures, the nickname “Foxy Knoxy,” Knox’s journal in prison, etc. It became a race to write the best scoops or catchy headlines in order to beat out the competition. I understand that journalists have to report on what they are being given. That’s there job, and I understand that they have to do it to the best of their ability. That being said, does a line have to be drawn somewhere? Two people in their early 20s are struggling in jail while the general public is reading details of private diary that included a list of Knox’s lovers. An innocent girl lost her life, but all we care about is how Amanda was kissing her boyfriend the next day. Whether you believe them or not, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito lost eight years of their life. How can they get those years back? Knox is literally fighting for her life, and some outlets said that Knox “could use hair and makeup, but I guess you don’t get that in jail.” Wait, what? Just another example of how the media can get crazy and take things too far.

A 21 year old student was brutally murdered. A family is left to wonder if they will ever get justice for their deceased daughter. Frankly, I don’t think we will ever find out who truly killed Meredith Kercher. Sometimes, you just have to take a step back and put things into perspective.

Go watch Amanda Knox and decide one thing: Innocent or guilty?