Call Me by Your Name


The thing about Luca Guadagnino is he takes all the dearthy prudence that makes up the surface of your commodity-stricken life, and without making you feel particularly bad about it, he graces you with nature’s effervescence. Whether by counterpointing music and visual symbolism, innocence and experience (the fruits of the two seasons, Blake called them), or wit and melancholy, he will spring clean your brain if you let him. He will summon the emptiness out of the contradiction: the only antidote. He will draw you unto that dangerous tile at the center of soul, where its original commitments may yet be perceptible.

This is no less true of the masterpiece that is Call Me by Your Name. Most scenes are laden with ominous airs of nostalgia—of youth looked back on, always in danger of spilling over—but they are also light enough that they manage to tell its viewers: “that’s right, this is how you’re supposed to be living your life, and if you’re not, then go change things around, because things are, in fact, real, and things are, in fact, serious, and therein lies the interesting bit.”

In the end we are left with a perfectly updated celebration of that Ancient Greek spirit of Heraclitus and Parmenides, of the last movement in Plato’s Symposium, where the two wandering halves of the soul have already managed to meet in beauty’s fleeting threshold, and where their love must now sublimate into virtue.