Synopsis: Teen finds love one summer in Italy
Call Me By Your Name is a romantic idyll that follows seventeen year old Elio’s summer romance with his professor father’s research assistant, graduate student, Oliver. The story takes place in early 1980’s Northern Italy, replete with scrumptious scenery of the sun-drenched countryside and a charming town that neighbors the family’s sprawling estate.
Elio, beautifully incarnated by Timothee Chalamet, spends his days lolling around his parents’ villa reading archaic tomes, transcribing classical music and plucking apricots from the trees that dot their garden. Ah, yes, a typical American teen’s summer vacay. Elio finds the annual trip rather dull; even with bike forays into town, flagrant cigarette smoking, un-ironic dancing to pop tunes at al fresco parties and casual sex with another teen — a French girl with a big crush on Elio. Meanwhile his dad waxes poetic on sexy Greek statues, whispering about how the statues are daring us to not desire them. His mom roams around the house smoking during the day and at night she reads German epic poems to the family.
Enter Oliver… Every summer the family hosts the dad’s research assistant. Poor Elio is expected to vacate his usual bedroom for the newcomer. The afternoon that their guest arrives finds a post-coital Elio and his sorta girlfriend drifting to the bedroom window to catch a glimpse of said newcomer as his car pulls up and he ambles out to greet Elio’s parents. Strapping Golden God Armie Hammer, as Oliver, emerges. Mamma Mia! The summer has just gotten a lot more interesting.
Now Oliver’s prosaic days include shirtless poolside talks with Oliver and jaunts into town. Fortunately for the pair, Oliver’s research responsibilities seem to consist of one bout of organizing slides –presumably of dad’s beguiling sexy Greek statues– that probably lasts about fifteen minutes. Now you might wonder: Aren’t Elio’s parents sensing the sexual tension between their seventeen-year-old son and the twenty-something Oliver? Well, yes, they do notice! And seem to delight in the burgeoning romance, making sure that the two have plenty of private time. Every teen dreams of their parents turning a blind eye to their licentious behavior. But instead, parents generally lurk around, ready to destroy fun plans. Lucky for Elio, he lives in some alternate reality where parents encourage teens’ whims. My parents encouraged non-whimsical behaviors like cleaning my room and saving money for college expenses. Yes, Elio! I actually had a J-O-B in the summer and I can assure you that the frigid lake my friends and I swam in was a far cry from the welcoming waters you cavort in. Ok, so I’m jelly that he gets to summer in Italy. And the sex. He has lots. With young women and young men. And the peach. The peach?
You see, it is not enough that Elio is easily accessing sex with attractive men and women. He also has to have sex with a peach. Because he cannot wait a few hours in between his escapades with humans. Lounging in bed one afternoon, he contemplates a peach. He gets a lustful look on his face and proceeds to pit the fruit and then… oh no… he has juicy union with the nonconsenting peach. I began to fear for the apricots that hung just beyond the house. And don’t expect his parents to intervene. They are so damned proud of Elio’s sexual awakening(s) that they would probably offer him a whole bowl of the most sensual fruits. Maybe even an entire watermelon! Now if my mom thought I was doing something obscene to an innocent fruit –or vegetable– she would be up all night saying the rosary.
Well, maybe I am being too hard on Elio because I wish that I had had a lazy, romantic summer in Italy. Our protagonist is actually quite likable. And I did enjoy wavering between who I thought was prettier: Elio or Oliver. But definitely not a Greek statue.
I’d like to finish with some advice for our lovers: Oliver, he’s in high school, dude! Elio, fruit is for eating, not *%$#*&^