DVD Review: Call Me By Your Name

STUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: Luca Guadagnino | CAST: Armie Hammer, Esther Garrel, Timothee Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar
RELEASE DATE: March 13, 2018 | PRICE: DVD $14.96, Blu-ray $19.96
SPECS: R | 132 min. | Drama romance | 1.85:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio | Video  | Overall

An indie critical hit of 2017, Call Me by Your Name focuses on the relationship between naïve Jewish teenager Elio (Timothee Chalamet, Lady Bird) and handsome grad student Oliver (Armie Hammer, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.)  while at an Italian villa during a summer in the 1980s.

The lovely holiday home is owned by Elio’s professor father (Michael Stuhlbarg, Men in Black 3) and mother (Amira Casar, The Forbidden Room), and the Northern Italian countryside around Lombardy adds greatly to the seductive mood of this well-acted but slow-moving coming-of-age saga.

Directed by Luca Guadagino (A Bigger Splash) with an Oscar-winning screenplay by veteran filmmaker James Ivory of (Merchant Ivory fame), the film is more concerned with its surroundings and the characters’ behavior than its story. As a mood piece with the accent on subtle sensuality, however, Elio and Oliver may ultimately score, but the picture remains dramatically sluggish throughout.

Along the way to Elio and Oliver’s eventual tete-a-tete, we’re also introduced to Elio’s confused girlfriend  (Esther Garrel, Apres Suzanne) and are privy to long glances between the two main characters, liberal-minded parents whose behavior sometimes seems too understanding to be true, lovely scenery, rustic Home-and-Garden surroundings, a nice soundtrack with original songs by Sufjan Stevens and a much-talked-about, titter-inducing sequence involving an apricot.

Propelled by fine reviews (95% on Rotten Tomatoes as of the publication of this review) impassioned word-of-mouth, crossover appeal to LGBT and straight audiences and an advanced jolt from enthusiastic festival showings, Call Me by Your Name is now approaching $20 million at the box-office. That will be enough to make it a certifiable want-to-see on the home market, likely translating into a brisk sell-through situation in arthouse markets.

Buy or Rent Call Me By Your Name

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.