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Film / Call Me by Your Name

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Call Me By Your Name is a 2017 coming-of-age film, directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by James Ivory, based on the novel of the same name by André Aciman.

Set in Northern Italy during the 1980s, Elio (Timothée Chalamet) is an average teenage boy expecting to spend another summer with an unknown American graduate student coming to work with his father, a professor (Michael Stuhlbarg).

When their guest turns out to be Oliver (Armie Hammer), an attractive college graduate who shares his Jewish heritage, Elio finds himself falling for a man, and learns the attraction may be mutual.


Call Me By Your Name contains examples of the following tropes:

  • The '80s: The film is set in the summer of 1983. Booty shorts, pastels shirts and 80s music abound, as well as certain forms of technology that were prevalent. Notably, The Psychedelic Furs' classic 1982 single, "Love My Way" serves as a kind of "arc theme".
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The film ends much earlier and slightly differently from the book, with Elio still a teenager, reflecting on their relationship. Aciman himself has stated after viewing it that he prefers the film's ending.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Let's just say Elio is a more complex character in the book, though he is still likable. He's petulant, less innocent and his stalking of Oliver is more aggressive. Rather than ending as he does in the film, heroically embracing his pain, he never gets over Oliver and stews about it for years.
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  • Adaptational Mundanity: The film is still an art film, but it has a far more realistic feel than the book which veers into the fantastical at times, with far heavier symbolism and long meditations on the nature of time. Vimini, for example, was probably adapted out because her character fits in with symbolism in the book that isn't really present in the film.
  • Adapted Out: Vimini doesn't appear in the film despite appearing often in Elio's memories of his time in Italy.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Downplayed in that there's only a seven-year difference between them, but visually, Oliver looks much older than Elio, played by the youthful Chalamet, despite both actors being only a few years older than their characters. This isn't helped by promotional materials and critics both describing Elio as, alternatively, a child or an adolescent.
  • Almost Holding Hands: When Elio and Oliver walk from the shop to the alley, there is a shot of their fingers slightly entwined without actually grasping hands, in deference to the discretion they had to live under.
  • Ambiguously Bi: There are a few hints that Elio’s father might be bisexual as well.
  • Bittersweet 17: In his seventeenth year, Elio falls in love with a man 7 years his senior while still technically being a child himself. Although he acts fairly mature, he is sometimes treated like a child, like when Mafalda argues with him about going out.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: Eliot's family.
  • Chewing the Scenery: The married, motor-mouthed Italian couple who the Perlmans have over for lunch.
  • Closet Key: Elio was attracted to men in the past, but doesn't come to terms with his bisexuality until Oliver.
  • Creator Cameo: André Aciman, who wrote the novel this film is based on, appears in a cameo role as one of the two gay gentlemen.
  • Disposable Love Interest: Marzia to Elio.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Elio likes to be barefoot, wherever possible.
  • Erotic Eating: The infamous peach scene. Elio ejaculates inside a peach, which Oliver later offers to eat. In the film, thankfully he doesn’t.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The scene with Oliver musing about the origin of the word "apricot" is there to validate him as an academic.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Elio muses on how Oliver isn't the first intern to develop a crush on him, and more than one male stranger has propositioned him.
  • First Love: Oliver is Elio's first love, and it shakes him to the core. Though Oliver has loved others before Elio, the feeling is no less mutual.
  • Foreshadowing: Mr. Perlman shows appreciation for the buff statues that he studies, and is particularly sensitive to calling the visiting gay couple "Sonny and Cher." This seems to foreshadow how, when encouraging Elio's feelings for Oliver, he implies that he was in a similar situation when he was in Elio's age, and thus is also attracted to men.
  • Gayngst: Oliver mentions that his mixed signals are because of an extremely homophobic father.
  • Good Parents: Elio genuinely loves his parents, who are caring and let him grow in his own way. Mr. Perlman even realizes the love between Elio and Oliver and encourages it.
  • Gratuitous French: The cast are primarily French and speak it amongst themselves in the film. Elio will speak French to Marzia and then go outside and switch to Italian.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Set in Italy, they also speak Italian fluently and sometimes switch languages mid-sentence.
  • Gratuitous German: And Elio's mother translates German poetry to him on one occasion, so this film is basically polyglot pornography.
  • I Kiss Your Foot: After Elio gets a bloody nose, Oliver gives him a secret foot massage, and then he kisses Elio’s foot.
  • Lover and Beloved: Along with the seven-year age difference between them, Oliver's academic status makes his relationship with the teenage Elio a modern example of this.
  • Male Gaze: As the audience is seeing things through Elio's perspective, there are many shots lingering over Oliver's body appreciatively.
  • No Antagonist: There is lots of conflict and angst, but no real "bad guy."
  • No Bisexuals: Despite both lead male characters Elio and Oliver being bisexuals, the media paints it as a "gay love story".
  • Open-Minded Parent: Mr. Perlman, who encourages Elio's feelings for Oliver, hinting that he, too, is attracted to men.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Elio often tries to make Oliver jealous, particularly by being in a relationship with Marzia, but Oliver reacts coldly to it and considers it childish.
  • Perverted Sniffing: Eliot sniffing Oliver's worn shorts, even pulling them over his head.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Indie musician Sufjan Stevens wrote original songs for the movie.
  • Queer Romance: The two romantic leads are bisexual men.
  • Rambunctious Italian: The Italian couple the family is having over when Eliot gets his nose bleed.
  • Right Through His Pants: When Elio makes love to Marzia on the grass, he still has his pants on.
  • Safety in Indifference: Discussed. Eliot's father warns him that if he starts closing off his heart, every failed relationship will make it harder to fully engage in the next one.
  • Scenery Porn: The novel's lush, detailed descriptions of the Italian Riviera come to life with the gorgeous cinematography used in the film.
  • Secret Test: Apparently, each year Elio's father tests the graduate students coming to his house with the same factually wrong claim about the etymology of "Apricot". Oliver passes with flying colors.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: When Elio and Oliver make out for the first time, the camera pans away to the open window.
  • Shipper on Deck: Mr. Perlman after the fact. He hints to Elio at knowing about their relationship and tacitly encourages Elio to treasure the time they had together.
  • Silent Credits: There is no soundtrack after the screen goes black during the end credits.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Downplayed; Elio has some attraction to people who aren't Oliver, but his passion is still solely reserved for him. In the book, he never really moves on from it, even decades later.
  • Speed Sex: Elio comes prematurely when making love to one girl.
  • Straight Gay: Neither Elio nor Oliver have any stereotypically gay characteristics.
  • The Stoic: Elio tries to feel nothing when Oliver announces his engagement, and attempts to move on too quickly from his first love. Mr. Perlman gives him a speech urging him to embrace the heartbreak.
  • Thematic Series: This film is considered the third of Guadagnino's "Desire" trilogy, alongside I am Love and A Bigger Splash.
  • Title Drop: "Call me by your name and I'll call you by mine." Also, the last five words of the novel.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: Elio sees Oliver off at a train station.
  • Tsundere: When Elio starts to feel attraction for Oliver, he behaves rather antagonistically, making fun of the way he says "Later!" and refusing to play Oliver's song request.
  • Twice Shy: Elio belatedly realizes that Oliver's hostile looks toward him weren't actually hostile at all, and it was merely a shy person's way of holding a gaze. He then comments on how they must be the two shyest people on the planet. It comes back to bite them when they consummate their passions too late to develop a full relationship.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Shy, reserved Elio falls for the outspoken, carefree Oliver.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Chiara and Marzia just sort of disappear from the narrative after Oliver and Elio are done with them.
  • Who Wears Short Shorts?: Oliver wears very short shorts, accentuated by Armie Hammer's long legs.
  • Wise Beyond His Years: Oliver sees Elio this way. "Is there anything you don't know?"


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