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Call Me by Your Name: The Language of Love

I’m not wise at all. I told you, I know nothing. I know books, and I know how to string words together—it doesn’t mean I know how to speak about the things that matter most to me. – André Aciman

Every story I know starts somewhere, and in this case, it is in Northern Italy. Call Me by Your Name is a movie about a 17-year-old Jewish Italian, Elio, and how one summer has changed his life. Unlike any other romantic movie, this movie does not contain a specific climax, but instead focuses on the unspoken feelings of the main character, Elio.

The story begins in Elio’s house in the rural part of Northern Italy. His father, an archaeology professor, invites one of his American co-workers, Oliver, to stay with them over the summer to assist him with his research. Everything goes smoothly at first; Oliver appears to be like a big brother figure to Elio. However, as time goes by, the atmosphere surrounding their relationship changes. With time, Elio finally admits his confusion towards his feelings for Oliver and finds out the other boy also feels the same way about him. Yet, Elio and Oliver are both scared of what they have. Elio seems confused about how he should convey his feelings, whilst Oliver fears he would be judged and rejected by society, and more importantly, his father. Due to this, they try to keep their relationship so no one but themselves would know. They call one by the other’s name and spend their summer nights together. Oliver then leaves back to America. Two years later, Elio gets a call from him, saying that he is going to be married.

It is beautiful how love is depicted in this movie. The two main characters, Elio and Oliver, never confess their love for each other. There are no sweet words between them, but rather, poetic words or riddles, which might be confusing at first glance. However, one could tell how much they mean to each other by the actions they do. Elio, still new to the whole idea of love, only finds himself intrigued by Oliver at first. Because they had to share a room, Elio dives deep and realizes it is more than just fascination. His mind is filled with Oliver. He clings to Oliver as if his life depended on it, even though he could not express his emotions fully. His every move that involves Oliver is somehow intense because of the great chemistry they have together. His first glance, first conversation, first kiss, and first everything with Oliver makes me experience how much he loves him.

As for Oliver, his maturity and how he cares for Elio and his feelings, perhaps more than himself, are his ways of saying he loves Elio. Oliver is careful of how he expresses his affection towards Elio. He shows very little hints, like paying attention to Elio’s small needs and seeking his attention by teasing him. Because of this, one might doubt Oliver’s love for Elio. Elio was even puzzled by him before he understood the message Oliver wanted to deliver. After they are finally able to acknowledge their fondness for each other, Oliver then starts to show it to Elio in a more vigorous way. He is the one to mention “Call me by your name, and I’ll call you by mine.” to Elio, which then becomes the iconic title for the movie.

To conclude, the movie Call Me by Your Name depicts the passionate yet subtle love between 17-year-old Elio and 24-year-old Oliver. Some people might say what Elio and Oliver have is a mere summer fling, but deep down, the unspoken love between them may be one of the greatest forces of all.

2 thoughts on “Call Me by Your Name: The Language of Love”

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