Me By Your Name is a 2017
romantic coming-of-age drama film directed by Luca Guadagnino. The film stars Thimothée
Chalamet and Armie Hammer as Elio Perlman and Oliver respectively. The story is
based on the 2007 novel by André Aciman and set in northern Italy in 1983. It tells
the story of the romance between Elio, a 17-year-old boy and his father’s
assistant, Oliver. Elio lives with his parents in the Italian countryside and
meets Oliver who lives with his family over the summer of 1983. Over time, Elio
and Oliver spend a lot of time together discussing mutual interests and later develop
Me By Your Name is a
story of first love that explores the dynamic between Elio and Oliver which
grows into a romantic relationship. Same-sex relationships were far more taboo
back in the 80s. Overall the film has a very sensual feel that perfectly
captures the 80s nostalgia. The very carefully selected score supports this
atmosphere. Guadagnino personally selected the music and ‘wanted to find an emotional,
not too heavy feeling’, he explained in an interview with IndyWire. The
director wanted the music to connect to Elio. The splendid cinematography and
the score created the summery feeling that the movie embodies all throughout.
The film’s costumes and production design really nail the look of the 80s.
Chalamet really brings the character of Elio to life.
Elio is someone who experiences a lot of things for the first time and often
cannot describe these. Chamalet’s face and body language made his character
very relatable and easy to understand. The chemistry between Chalamet and
Hammer is strong and show the emotions between the characters. The couple’s
physical chemistry adds to the overall sensual feel of the movie.
Even though the atmosphere is nearly perfect in the
movie, the representation of the physical compatibility is not. The romantic
relationship between the two main characters does not include any explicit love
scenes and remains very discreet. In the context of today’s perspective on
same-sex relationships, it is something that was rather odd to leave out of an
otherwise remarkable movie. Guadagnino revealed in an interview with the
Hollywood Reporter that ‘in order for queer stories to be marketable, they must
be presented in a way that will not alienate straight audiences.’ The tone and
the direction of the movie were about the emotional journey of first love,
rather than a queer narrative, he explained. This is to help the film gain a
wider audience beyond the LGBTQ community, but it feels a bit too restrained in
later parts of the movie.
Me By Your Name is a
nearly perfect romantic drama film and captures the emotions of the two main
characters very well. However, in order to have done the story justice, the film
should have presented a more honest and unfiltered narrative that did not limit
itself to comforting and appeasing mainstream audiences.