best of 2017: call me by your name


Call me by your name...

It is the summer of 1983. Two beautiful men ride color-coordinated bikes in color-coordinated (but not too color-coordinated) outfits across the most gorgeous countryside you’ve seen since the world’s cheesiest and most fabulous early 2000s classic, Under the Tuscan Sun. Don’t be confused though, this movie has no cheese. It is all love and sex and tension and truth.

It is also the winter of 2017. I am balled up in my seat wearing the coziest Saint Heron sweatshirt, and yet I feel no comfort. I feel the silent electricity on the screen, all around, and wonder when the last time was that I truly felt that sort of wild, crackling spark between myself and another person. Have I ever felt that, truly? I wonder when the last time was that I didn’t quickly jump into bed with a date, rushing toward the finish line of a lover’s chase, but instead took the time to question and challenge and know and long for that person before physically handing a part of my soul over to him. Served on a platter like a slice of cake. Why am I so anxious to let just anyone taste it?

My eyes drift to the corner of the screen, where I drink in the Italian foliage, and then they glaze over just for a moment as I come to the conclusion that I will never know the deep, true, and lasting love for which some cruel god instilled a longing in my heart at a young age, through a deadly combination of both nature (genetic predisposition to young, fast, failed romances) and nurture (I know the chronology of pure-hearted Disney princesses and delightfully social-climbing Jane Austen characters better than I know any Holy Book).

Call Me By Your Name shattered me in the best way that a movie, or any other artwork, can. I sat in my seat drinking in the hopelessness of love long after the end of the final scene -- which features some of the best face-acting of 2017 or any other year in recent memory, by the way.

All I can say is that this movie is all at once an aesthetic triumph, a pivotal coming of age tale in a very different but no less important way than Lady Bird, and so enormously meaningful in this year that seemed defined by hate. A story of grand passion and peaceful acceptance. Fantasy and, sadly, reality. At this point I am just throwing a lot of words at you because I came out of the womb talking and have seldom in my life been struck utterly speechless but this movie brought me sort of close. So that’s something.

Go see this film. Let it remove from your heart and your brain your discomforts, insecurities, fears, and replace them all with a small reminder that a deep, understanding friendship or love between two people is one of the truest things this human experience has to offer.

...and I’ll call you by mine.