Call Me By Your Name

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WHAT IT'S ABOUT

Call Me by Your Name is a 2007 novel by American writer André Aciman about a love affair between an intellectually precocious 17-year-old American-Italian Jewish boy, Elio (played by Timotheé Chalamet), and a visiting 24-year-old American Jewish scholar, Oliver (played by Armie Hammer), in 1980s Italy. The novel chronicles their summer romance and the 20 years that follow.

WHY IS IT GREAT?

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The novel and movie alike are both a beautiful portrait of the fluidity of passion, feeling connected to someone, but unable to truly be with them and sexuality as a whole.  The film focuses more on the relationship between Elio and Oliver, whereas the book is told from Elio's perspective, reflecting on the events of that summer some years later.  The novel reads more as a coming-of-age story, with Oliver being a stop on his way to adulthood.  When they part ways, he is upset but understands that what he has/had with Oliver is something that has changed him and they don't seem to dwell on whether or not they can one day be together.    

WHICH WAS BETTER?

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While I find that the novel drives home the point a bit better, that people come in and out of our lives making waves and affecting the world around us, I found myself enjoying the film a bit more than the novel.  Maybe it was because my imagination couldn't really do the beautiful shots of the Italian country side proper justice, maybe it was the score compiled of Sufjan Stevens tracks, or maybe it was Armie Hammer and his 80's shorts.  Regardless, I found Elio's youth and occasional immaturity a bit exhausting while reading.  It felt as though once Elio and Oliver finally got together in the film, they were truly together for that time, that they didn't spend it thinking about others, which made their passion for each other feel infinitely more intense than it did in the novel.  And I'm a sucker for a tragic love story, the more tragic, the better.