Review: Call Me By Your Name a breathtaking, critical barnstormer

The awards heavyweights are starting to roll into New Zealand cinemas, and there is one small independent film emerging as a strong favourite.

Already up for three Golden Globes and six Spirit Awards, Call Me By Your Name is a critical barnstormer.

There are those very rare films that once you're immersed in, almost seep into the personal fabric of your own memories - so sensually visceral are they. Call Me By Your Name is one of those films.

We are immediately transported to northern Italy in the height and the heat of an '80s summer. Elio is the only child of an American professor and his wife living in a sprawling villa that's very much entrenched in the local community.

Each year they're joined by a resident research student, and this summer it's Oliver.

Their attraction is instant and as instantly denied - denial borne of the times and of a something far more real and meaningful. As Elio's young heart explodes, so does his confusion.

His story, as it's revealed to him and to us, is one of the most beautiful love stories I've ever seen.

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino makes the finest film of his career so far, using the well-known book as his foundation. Delivering this story so cinematically to all our senses and our open minds so completely, the experience is quite simply breathtaking.

Forget Lone Ranger, here Armie Hammer sets sail instead into awards season, and alongside him the one to watch, teenager Timothee Chalamet.

Their love story is one for the cinematic ages.

There are two very special scenes in this film that will never ever leave my senses.

One of them involves the marvellous Michael Stulberg, who plays Elio's father, and it left me in tatters - floods in fact - so glorious it was.

The other, showing us just what a star in the making this young actor is, rolls us through the closing credits in a classic Guadagnino way - and had the same effect.

I can't wait to soak up this film once again and on the big screen. You'll feel like you just spent the summer in Italy as a teenager, and what's not to love about that?

Five stars.


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