Every year professor, Sami Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) invites a graduate student to join him and his family in their home in rural Italy for the summer as part of their studies. When Oliver (Armie Hammer) arrives, Sami’s teenage son, Elio (Timothée Chalamet) is stand-offish but as the summer continues the two develop a slow burning mutual attraction that will redefine their concept of love.
I absolutely fell in love with this film from start to finish. The setting was glorious and although I watched it on a raining train journey across England, I felt transported to Italy. I loved looking into the hustle and bustle of the Perlmans’ lives and how open and loving and intellectual they were. Elio’s relationship with both his parents, especially his father are great to watch. Sami’s final speech to Elio was one of the most compelling soliloquy’s I have seen in years.
Then there is the relationship between Elio and Oliver. Like me, I am sure all of you have watched countless films that feature people falling in love. It is rare though to watch a film where you feel as if you are embarking on the relationship with the characters. If you’ve ever been attracted to someone you maybe shouldn’t have been, wondered if the feeling was mutual or been inexplicably obsessed, you’ll relate to everything Elio goes through. In many ways it is an unromanticised, non-idealistic look at falling in love, which paradoxically makes it that much more romantic.
Chalamet is revelation. He embodies Elio’s typical teenageriness but also imbues him with sensitivity, intelligence and charm. I immediately wanted to seek out every role he’s ever played. He and Hammer have a chemistry that is so natural and so electric that it’s hard to believe that they are not lovers. While Chalamet is the true star, Hammer’s performance is also worthy of praise and without question the best I have seen him.
I was left torn apart and thinking about the film for days. I have no criticisms. I just want to watch it again and again.