Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

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Professor Wagstaff
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Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

#1 Post by Professor Wagstaff » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:16 pm

Speaking of Call Me By Your Name, I was disappointed that my nearest art house theatre chose to raise the house lights immediately when the credits started at the end. Without spoiling the end, the first few credits are accompanied by an ongoing shot in the film that's the big emotional payoff. I spoke to the manager after the show and made a friendly suggestion that he might want to delay the house lights another minute for when the credits without the shot begin because the movie wasn't really over. He said he would consider it, but probably wouldn't do anything.

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Brian C
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Movie Theater Experiences

#2 Post by Brian C » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:28 pm

I sympathize but ultimately that’s on the filmmaker and not the theater. Lights or no lights, once the credits start rolling, people are gonna start getting up and moving around. I half-agree with the theater for turning the lights up, to be honest. It’s not their fault the movie isn’t over when the credits start - it’s just a safety issue.

Looking from another perspective, maybe that effect is specifically a creative decision. Maybe we’re not meant to sit and stare at Chalamet sitting and staring - maybe his forlorn face is supposed to stick with us as we leave, as a way of lingering on or whatnot. After all, it’s not like Guadagnino had to start the credits when he did.

Gus Van Sant used to run the entire credits over the final shots of his movies, in what I assume were attempts at that kind of effect. I always liked that.
Last edited by Brian C on Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#3 Post by willoneill » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:32 pm

Professor Wagstaff wrote:Speaking of Call Me By Your Name, I was disappointed that my nearest art house theatre chose to raise the house lights immediately when the credits started at the end. Without spoiling the end, the first few credits are accompanied by an ongoing shot in the film that's the big emotional payoff. I spoke to the manager after the show and made a friendly suggestion that he might want to delay the house lights another minute for when the credits without the shot begin because the movie wasn't really over. He said he would consider it, but probably wouldn't do anything.
I got lucky with this at my art-house theatre; someone tweeted at the theatre about this before their run began, so they knew not to turn the lights on until after that shot was over. They theatre noted, however, that they could only do this because their lights are still manual. Apparently most movie theatres nowadays have their lights automated and programmed to the digital film file, and for legal (health & safety) reasons, the lights are programmed to come on as soon as people would be expected to start moving around (i.e. as soon as the end credits start rolling).

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Professor Wagstaff
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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#4 Post by Professor Wagstaff » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:42 pm

Wow that is lucky! At least in my screening, no one left their seats until the scene came to an end. As for the programmed lights, I'd think that should be an easy fix. After all any time I see a Marvel movie theatres delay the lights until at least the pre-credit scene is over, and house lights don't typically turn on when a gag reel ends a movie. It's a shame that a movie that needs that extra time of life in the dark doesn't get it.

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The Narrator Returns
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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#5 Post by The Narrator Returns » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:46 pm

Interesting, I saw it at a big Regal theater the first weekend it played there, and the house lights didn't go up until the final shot was over.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#6 Post by whaleallright » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:19 am

This was an issue with Beau travail in its first release, but this was before DCP, of course, and I recall the Music Box in Chicago "fixing" the problem after a while by keeping the house lights low through the end of the post-credits (or intra-credits) coda.

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tenia
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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#7 Post by tenia » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:57 am

Roscoe wrote:A screening of CALL ME BY YOUR NAME was ruined by lots of sniggering, laughing and comments from a mostly senior-citizen crowd, which has led me to the conclusion that the biggest problem with gay movies is straight audiences.
The biggest problem always is dumb people, whether they're straight, gay, bi, trans or whatever.
I've seen Carol in Belgium at a half-full showing and it was perfectly quiet, and I doubt there were many gay people there (considering how many straight couples there seemed to be - though it might have been couples of gay and lesbian friends !).
Professor Wagstaff wrote:After all any time I see a Marvel movie theatres delay the lights until at least the pre-credit scene is over, and house lights don't typically turn on when a gag reel ends a movie.
It's actually a good way to know if there is a mid-credits scene in movies.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#8 Post by Lost Highway » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:50 am

tenia wrote:
Roscoe wrote:A screening of CALL ME BY YOUR NAME was ruined by lots of sniggering, laughing and comments from a mostly senior-citizen crowd, which has led me to the conclusion that the biggest problem with gay movies is straight audiences.
The biggest problem always is dumb people, whether they're straight, gay, bi, trans or whatever.
I've seen Carol in Belgium at a half-full showing and it was perfectly quiet, and I doubt there were many gay people there (considering how many straight couples there seemed to be - though it might have been couples of gay and lesbian friends !).
Professor Wagstaff wrote:After all any time I see a Marvel movie theatres delay the lights until at least the pre-credit scene is over, and house lights don't typically turn on when a gag reel ends a movie.
It's actually a good way to know if there is a mid-credits scene in movies.
A denial of allegations of homophobia by citing anecdotal counter evidence is not the way to go. That denies the power imbalance at work when it comes to the discrimination of minorities. The same logic is what fuels #whitelivesmatter and calls for heterosexual pride parades.
Last edited by Lost Highway on Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#9 Post by tenia » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:28 am

While a sole exemple indeed doesn't make a demonstration, I think your conclusion is close to an overgeneralization, which wouldn't be much better.

What I meant is that I doubt that being straight is the key characteristic of this problematic audience (one could argue, for instance, that a straight but younger crowd would have yielded a different reaction). I didn't mean to deny the reality of the discrimination, just that dumb people are usually dumb before any other specific attribute, no matter which demographic group they belong to. That's what I wanted to convey through my exemple.
Lost Highway wrote:That denies the power imbalance at work when it comes to the discrimination of minorities. The same logic is what fuels #whitelivesmatter and calls for heterosexual pride parades.
That's stretching it a bit. As I wrote, I only wanted to observe that you might have been jumping to conclusion when summarizing that the issue was that your audience was mostly straight, while it might have been that they were just, again, dumb people.

Again, I don't deny the reality, I just wanted to remark that your conclusion might be a tad too quick and overly simplistic.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#10 Post by Lost Highway » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:38 am

tenia wrote:While a sole exemple indeed doesn't make a demonstration, I think your conclusion is close to an overgeneralization, which wouldn't be much better.

What I meant is that I doubt that being straight is the key characteristic of this problematic audience (one could argue, for instance, that a straight but younger crowd would have yielded a different reaction). I didn't mean to deny the reality of the discrimination, just that dumb people are usually dumb before any other specific attribute, no matter which demographic group they belong to. That's what I wanted to convey through my exemple.
Lost Highway wrote:That denies the power imbalance at work when it comes to the discrimination of minorities. The same logic is what fuels #whitelivesmatter and calls for heterosexual pride parades.
That's stretching it a bit. As I wrote, I only wanted to observe that you might have been jumping to conclusion when summarizing that the issue was that your audience was mostly straight, while it might have been that they were just, again, dumb people.

Again, I don't deny the reality, I just wanted to remark that your conclusion might be a tad too quick and overly simplistic.
I honestly don't know what the point of your theory is that these people are "just dumb rather than homophobic". In my experience the two things go hand in hand and it still amounts to a denial that this type of behavior is homophobic. It's the low level crap a queer person is up against all the time. "Are you sure when they punched you in the face and called you a "faggot" they were being homophobic ? They may just have been stupid !" Maybe if you don't have personal experience with a particular type of discrimination, don't offer up your pearls of wisdom. I'm happy to leave it here.

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tenia
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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#11 Post by tenia » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:51 am

EDIT : it just seemed that concluding that “the biggest problem with gay movies is straight audiences”, as if the the key characteristic of this demographic group was being straight, was jumping to conclusions. I wasn’t trying to express any theory, and certainly wouldn’t deny the reality of how discriminative the world is.
I just wanted to point this seemingly to me excessive conclusion out. I either extremely poorly expressed it, or it has been read into too much.
In any case, my apologies.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#12 Post by DeParis » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:02 pm

This back-and-forth reminded me of my own experience seeing Call Me By Your Name, where some seriously annoying fellow patrons put a damper on things. I saw it in the middle of the day on a weekday, so there were only about 8 people in the audience, and it was being shown in a huge theater. Despite that, a male/female, middle-aged couple decided to sit directly behind me. They then proceeded to whisper among themselves pretty much constantly throughout the whole movie. About 2/3s of the way through the film, the man left, carrying what looked like several suits he had picked up from the dry cleaners (?). About 15 minutes later, the woman left also. The upshot is at least they didn't ruin the ending, and the theater kept the lights down as the credits were rolling. Really, most theaters I can think of in the area (I live around DC) do a pretty good job of keeping the lights down or at least dimmed over the first few minutes of the credits, even for genre films. Maybe we have Marvel to thank for that.
tenia wrote:EDIT : it just seemed that concluding that “the biggest problem with gay movies is straight audiences”, as if the the key characteristic of this demographic group was being straight, was jumping to conclusions. I wasn’t trying to express any theory, and certainly wouldn’t deny the reality of how discriminative the world is.
I just wanted to point this seemingly to me excessive conclusion out. I either extremely poorly expressed it, or it has been read into too much.
In any case, my apologies.
Maybe I'm being presumptious in cutting in here, but I don't think anyone is arguing that straight audiences are inherently going to be direspectful during a movie with a LGBT romance in it, and I think that it goes without saying that people who are disruptive during movies inevitably come off as rude/dumb/whatever. But I do think it's fair to say that the lions share of people who titter in the theater at any display of same-sex romantic affection are going to be straight, and that their discomfort is an expression of homophobia. So it seems fair to point out that straight viewers seem to be driving the problem of rude audiences for LGBT films, and I think it goes without saying that this only applies to straight viewers who are rude enough to behave disruptively.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#13 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:57 am

DeParis wrote:Maybe I'm being presumptious in cutting in here, but I don't think anyone is arguing that straight audiences are inherently going to be direspectful during a movie with a LGBT romance in it, and I think that it goes without saying that people who are disruptive during movies inevitably come off as rude/dumb/whatever. But I do think it's fair to say that the lions share of people who titter in the theater at any display of same-sex romantic affection are going to be straight, and that their discomfort is an expression of homophobia. So it seems fair to point out that straight viewers seem to be driving the problem of rude audiences for LGBT films, and I think it goes without saying that this only applies to straight viewers who are rude enough to behave disruptively.
The statement "the biggest problem with gay movies is straight audiences" does in fact blame the entire group for vocal disrespect, indeed only one cited moment of vocal disrespect (I gather meant to stand in for more, but still just as much a single example as Tenia was criticized for using). As with any hasty generalization, its partial or technically accuracy doesn't balance its misrepresentations.

It is more accurate to say that the problem is not with straight people, it's with homophobic straight people. Unless you're planning to blame, say, straight non-homphobic people for tittering at gay movies, you are forced to admit there is something other than merely being straight behind this and that you're talking about a subset of the group 'straight people'. In which case there is no call to blame the whole group for the actions of the subset. That's what creates hasty and unhelpful over-generalizations.

But then it should also be pointed out that any homophobic queer person (eg.: any number of closeted gay men who spend their public life campaigning against gay issues before being caught in a gay sex scandal, and who would no doubt titter or worse if they happened to find themselves in a gay movie with an audience of straight people) would also contribute to the exact same problem.

So, really, the biggest problem with gay movies is homophobic people. But that hardly needs pointing out. Tenia was right to express his reservations, and some of the responses to him above (not including yours, DeParis) have been unfair and excessive.

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Re: Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

#14 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:56 am

I was shocked that we didn't have a thread for this film, though I think discussions of how theaters handled the end credits sequence are germane to one, so I moved them over here to get it going. It's a Best Picture nominee, for goodness' sake!

As for my viewing - it was mixed, and not the first time a fleeting relationship story centered around physical interaction drawing out complicated emotions left me a little cold. Timothée Chalamet's character is absolutely swimming (literally) in privilege, isn't wanting for access to sexuality or the acceptance of his family or anything else that usually complicates the existence of a queer young person in the movies and in actual life. So when Armie Hammer's introduced into his orbit, I don't know if I was wrong to expect them to have some profound meetings of the minds, some way of sharing one another's admiration for each other. Instead, the relationship seemed to me to be purely physical, and at times careless with Chalamet's feelings, and in some ways unworthy of the gobsmackingly beautiful speech by Michael Stuhlbarg in the final scene. If there had been anything approaching that kind of tenderness between Chalamet and Hammer (who is an astonishing A++ tier movie star by the way - wow), the film would have clicked in the rest of the way. Instead, the elliptical nature of their sexual relationship didn't leave me feeling a ton of empathy for Chalamet, as he'll have a future filled with plenty of things that've been warmed by the sun (animal, mineral, and vegetable) to have surface level sexual relationships with in the future.

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Re: Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

#15 Post by Roger Ryan » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:16 pm

This was exactly how I felt about the film - there simply wasn't enough time spent developing Elio's relationship with Oliver apart from "so we're both feeling this thing, right?" In fact, what the film does spend time on is Elio's relationship with Marzia and this, inadvertently, becomes the tragic center of the story. Overall, the strong performances sold it, especially Stuhlbarg's film-stealing penultimate scene.

I'm not convinced that Guadagnino's idea to do a sequel every few years to this story (a la the Before Trilogy) is going to work at all.

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Re: Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

#16 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:21 pm

Something like Andrew Haigh's Weekend is a much better candidate for that, since the characters, you know, have conversations with each other

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Re: Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

#17 Post by Roscoe » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:30 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:Something like Andrew Haigh's Weekend is a much better candidate for that, since the characters, you know, have conversations with each other
And WEEKEND actually, you know, seems to take place in something like the actual world occupied by more than .005% of the human race.

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Re: Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

#18 Post by Brian C » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:56 pm

Is the economic privilege of these characters relevant at all except as an excuse for not-so-subtle resentment towards them? This came up recently in another thread, too (I forget which, but probably with a different poster) - this notion that a character has to earn empathy, and that their circumstances somehow disqualify them from being worthy of it. But that notion seems to me to be oppositional to the whole concept of empathy. It sounds more like judgmental approval than empathy.

Somewhat related question: is it really that hard to believe that the central relationship, as shown in the film, meant a lot to Chalamet's character? It seems reasonable that it might come across as superficial to us, but I also thought it was clearly more meaningful to Elio. Indeed, that was the whole point of Stulbarg's speech - he recognized how Elio felt about it, and (rather nobly, I thought) matched the level of his empathy with the overwhelming feeling that Elio was experiencing. He could have perhaps been justified in saying, "Hey cheer up, you'll see in time that this was just a summer fling and you'll get over it." But he didn't, because he recognized the power of Elio's emotions at that moment and wanted to speak to that instead of minimizing how he felt.

In fact, I got the impression that Elio had, to that point, not experienced a whole lot of emotional development, at least in terms of relationships. We see that with the almost ridiculous lack of investment that he has towards his girlfriend. But his devastation over Oliver maybe marked a new step forward for him, and Stulbarg's speech addressed that, too. It's what made that speech so brilliant to me - it was more than just a lovely sentiment, it was applicable to Elio's specific nature and his specific circumstances, and demonstrated him to be a very attentive and insightful father.

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Re: Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

#19 Post by Mungo » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:32 pm

With regards to mfunk's thoughts: I didn't really have a problem with Elio's privilege here, because I thought the movie was more interested in Elio's introversion and difficulty connecting emotionally with people than the circumstances of Elio's home life and the permissiveness of his parents. That's something to be expected in part because of his age, as Elio's father I think hints at in his final speech, but, at the same time, I think the point of the relationship between Elio and Oliver was to break down those barriers. I thought the movie was less about the relationship between the two and more about how Oliver's presence has made Elio grow as a person. Oliver is sort of an "other" here, as emphasized by his nationality and his extroversion in contrast to Elio's introversion, and the movie deals more with Oliver (and all of the supporting cast) less as individuals and more through their relationships with Elio. I don't know if that's the way the movie should have treated all of these characters, but I think the focus on Elio's maturation largely works.

In general, though, I wish the movie had given more time and space to some of its other subplots and scenes. This is a movie that was obviously cut down from a much larger initial product (as stories of the movie's 4-hour rough cut prove), and there seemed to be some gratuitous scene-chopping where full-length scenes were pared down to half their length (notice the amount of scenes that, especially towards the start of the movie, end in fades where characters are obviously still talking or doing things). This leads to dangling threads like with the dancing scene, where we have an introduction to some of Elio's friends (who, beyond Marzia, barely appear in the rest of the movie), and the woman that becomes interested in Oliver (who I think appears twice more, but serves no real function). I'm not saying that this is like a Fire Walk With Me situation where explanatory stuff is missing from the final edit, but I feel like some of the supporting characters don't have the purpose that they would in a longer movie that gave more time to the different aspects of Elio's life. On the whole, I liked this movie, but I wish we had a clearer view of the characters that were affecting Elio's behavior besides Marzia, Oliver, and the parents.

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Re: Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

#20 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:43 pm

Brian C wrote:But his devastation over Oliver maybe marked a new step forward for him, and Stulbarg's speech addressed that, too. It's what made that speech so brilliant to me - it was more than just a lovely sentiment, it was applicable to Elio's specific nature and his specific circumstances, and demonstrated him to be a very attentive and insightful father.
This is a very lovely observation, and is very true.

All I meant by bringing up Elio's privilege is that the stakes of the film are so low from every conceivable angle that having him happen to be someone who does not want for anything, including warmth, love, and personal (as well as sociological!) understanding from his lovely parents - there is light spilling through into Elio's life everywhere. When someone has every leg up a person his age could have, a first heartbreak after a fling (with established boundaries, Elio knew that there was no chance Oliver was sticking around for him or anyone else) is a rather lightweight thing to feel too much of a connection with. If you make a film about a character's Mercedes getting a flat tire, I don't resent the character for the wealth that afforded them the car, I just wonder how much of my emotional investment I have to offer to that story from the viewer's perspective. It's not going to be at the same level as Wendy and Lucy, for instance. Maybe that's class resentment? But I'd like to think it's just common sense.

I should have been bawling like a baby at the end of the film, but it felt as if there was a better usefulness for the tears, and that Elio would be just fine.

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Re: Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

#21 Post by knives » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:57 pm

Aren't there hundreds of books and films with such low stakes some of which are fairly universally regarded as good? I don't mean to say that Guadagnino sells the story well enough to invest into it, but how different are the stakes here from, say, your average Rohmer film? The question, as I understand it from a variety of people that have seen the film, isn't whether the tears are useful, but if those are the emotions he would feel at that moment allowing him to break into humanity. It's a very small r romantic notion.

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Re: Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

#22 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:06 pm

He seemed like a good kid, and like someone who was behind schedule in his development but not necessarily doomed to live in a shell. Maybe a rewatch would reveal a deeper level of introversion than I picked up on.

It isn't that the story isn't a valid one to be told - it's that the writing and directing weren't so infallibly brilliant to make up for a lightweight narrative. There is nothing in pointing a camera at beautiful people in a beautiful setting that feels worthy of too much praise, to me - I've struggled with Guadagnino's narrow focus and over-reliance on bespoke Italian settings to this point because it's never felt like the actual stories of his films have had enough heft to be too compelling on their own, and thought this might be where he finally seeped through for me. It's obvious why certain people love them, though. Just not my cup of fresh apricot juice.

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Re: Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

#23 Post by knives » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:14 pm

Like I said, I don't mean to defend the film so much as its story. My understanding as well is that Elio is basically normal for his social standing and there isn't some deeper introversion going on. It's just that a first real serious love has an out sized weight for people usually.

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Re: Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

#24 Post by Brian C » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:14 pm

mfunk9786 wrote: If you make a film about a character's Mercedes getting a flat tire, I don't resent the character for the wealth that afforded them the car, I just wonder how much of my emotional investment I have to offer to that story from the viewer's perspective. It's not going to be at the same level as Wendy and Lucy, for instance. Maybe that's class resentment? But I'd like to think it's just common sense.
Curious example, in that getting a flat tire - like getting an intense crush on someone - is something that's pretty relatable regardless of one's income level or social station. That you choose to make the situation about the Mercedes isn't going to dispel the notion of class resentment.

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Re: Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino, 2017)

#25 Post by Roscoe » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:16 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:It isn't that the story isn't a valid one to be told - it's that the writing and directing weren't so infallibly brilliant to make up for a lightweight narrative.
Voila -- my feelings exactly, said far better than I managed to. And the less interest I felt in the story, the less sympathy I managed to work up for a kid living in such generally excellent circumstances.

It's rather like the situation in the Pixar film INSIDE/OUT. I just sat there thinking that poor little Riley was, in the long run, going through some pretty everyday trauma. A few weeks and a couple non-vegetarian pizzas and all will be just fine, and I say this from experience -- few people are as familiar with that "new kid in the new school" thing as I had the bad luck to be. The same with the privileged world of Elio in CMBYN -- all I could ever feel was that he should just enjoy his time with Oliver, because it wasn't going to last, and yeah, tears and heartbreak and, considering the time period of 1983, he'll soon have a lot more serious things to be worrying about. It's not about the privilege, ultimately, it was about my general lack of real particular interest in what was going on. In less generous moments, I've even come to find the father's celebrated speech to be terribly calculated as a built-in defense against criticism -- 'you can't dislike this movie without showing yourself as being exactly the person the movie warns Elio about becoming, all shut down emotionally.' And in even less generous moments, I've come to see it as fulfilling two of the deepest needs of certain audience members -- the needs for self-affirmation and self-pity.

First love got you all sad, kid? Cry it out, go right ahead. And buck up -- I'm sure there's some guys in your posh prep school to take the sting away.

I've noticed that I have less patience than I used to with these tales of Adolescent Agony. The current Broadway musical DEAR EVAN HANSEN, while provoking buckets of tears from so many had me only thinking it was a snivelling afterschool special. I've just outgrown this stuff.
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