“Call Me By Your Name” is a novel by André Aciman, with a film adaptation directed by Luca Guadagnino, that follows the soul-crushing romance between Elio, the 17-year-old son of a professor, and Oliver, a 24-year-old grad student spending the summer with Elio and his family. Elio and Oliver discuss a broad number of topics — religious affiliation, virginity and sexual orientation among them. In this installment of “Noe’s Choice,” I’ll work out which version (book or film) best presented the plot. And if you’ve yet to watch or read, beware the spoilers.
In the book, André Aciman gives a better sense of who the main characters really are which, in my opinion, is key to understanding their complex relationship. The book’s imagery was incredibly clear and visual, and Aciman powerfully represents the characters. Aciman also enhances the importance of the house itself representing young, gay love. The sense of secrecy, longing and temporariness is found in every element of the book.
Noe didn’t love:
Because the novel is written from Elio’s perspective, I got a bit lost in following the timeline. Although getting lost in a plot can be good, it didn’t work for “Call Me By Your Name” because of the pertinence of Oliver’s departure to the novel. At some points, it felt like time was moving too quickly, while at others, it felt like it was irrationally slow. Also, the jump to the future was way too jarring. If it was a few years instead of decades, the theme of obsession would have flowed much better.
I was amazed by how the screenwriters were able to take a book that consists mostly of internal dialogue and convert it to a visual love story between two men. Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer were phenomenal as the star-crossed lovers. Their commitment to their parts shines through, as they play their roles sans any discomfort they felt in the beginning days of shooting. Plus, they’re best friends now which means we will be seeing cute Armothee GIFs for as long as they live. Luca Guadagnino’s ability to preserve the purity in this story in an environment notorious for its sexual corruption deserves any and all praise. The soundtrack, the actors and the setting all contributed in making CMBYN the award-winning film that it is.
Noe didn’t loved:
Because the film strayed from Elio’s perspective, I felt that there was no strong sense of character of either of the men. The nonchalant attitude they possess in the book is overwhelmingly exaggerated in the film. Compared to the book, this makes their decisions to go beyond the point of friendship seem more of impulsive and less of a burning desire. One problem the film shares with the book is time; once they admitted their feelings, I felt like there was only a split second where they could bask in the triumphant love. As with most film adaptations, the limit of time and budgets may have contradicted with what is expected by readers of the book.
THE BOOK. Aciman produced a unique love story from a unique perspective that surpasses the film adaptation because of the book’s attention to details and its fresh approach on gay love. While the movie was still amazing and I would definitely rewatch Chalamet fall for Hammer any time, the book’s immersiveness makes it far superior. There’s more imagery, more personality, and obviously more tears for everyone to enjoy.