The Luca Guadagnino directed adaptation of the book with the same name is a sweet and cute statement at normalising queerness, but offers a little more than a mostly idealised deception of queer sexual awakening.
While having more prominent queer-centric films is fantastic and shows we are moving forward in the entertainment industry. 'Call Me By Your Name', for most of the time, felt like it was scared to properly depict queerness and its struggles while still being a cute love story.
'Call Me By Your Name' is every idealistic description of a teenage bisexual boy’s awakening. It really is just another white cisgender-centric depiction of queerness.
The acting is good and Timothée Chalamet has great chemistry with Armie Hammer, but it really never really delves beneath the surface. And don’t get me wrong, not every queer person has a traumatic experience, with Chalamet’s character’s parents being very liberal. Especially, with the fact that the film is set in the 1980s.
However, queer films such as 'Call Me By Your Name' are a dime a dozen. And what really irked me about this one is the fact that Elio’s (Chalamet) heterosexual sex scene was shown on screen while during his homosexual sex scene, the camera panned to the right of the screen.
This is why I say this film is a queer movie for straight people.
What then would be the reason for not depicting both the same? To appeal to the mostly heterosexual academy and not necessarily give a true depiction of a blossoming gay relationship.
Guadagnino had the opportunity to really use the success of Moonlight as a springboard to push queer cinema further. Instead, it feels as if we’re moving backwards.
With director Guadagnino being an out gay man, I expected him, of all people, to really turn the queer volume all the way and really make a movie that sees a shift with regards to queer cinema. Choosing to skirt around such a pivotal point with the characters' relationship puts a damper on the film has a whole. Furthermore, it shows how heteronormativity still invades queer spaces, with Guadagnino stating the reason he left it out was that he wanted to showcase the intimacy between Elio and Oliver (Armie Hammer).
This is absolute hogwash.
The reason behind it seems as if he wanted to make it more digestible for heterosexual eyes because when two men have sex on screen, it becomes a problem.
As such 'Call Me By Your Name' does more harm than good, and needed to be and do more. Especially as yet another queer white cisgender-centric film, it should have aimed for the stars instead of aiming to make people feel comfortable.