“Call Me by Your Name”: A Deep Dive into Love and Self-Discovery


“Call Me by Your Name,” directed by Luca Guadagnino and based on André Aciman’s novel of the same name, is a film that has captured the hearts of audiences and critics alike. Released in 2017, this coming-of-age romance set in the Italian countryside is a poignant exploration of first love, identity, and the passage of time. This article delves into the themes, characters, and impact of “Call Me by Your Name,” highlighting its significance in contemporary cinema.

Plot Overview

Set in the summer of 1983, “Call Me by Your Name” follows the story of Elio Perlman, a 17-year-old living with his family in Northern Italy. Elio’s life takes a transformative turn when Oliver, a 24-year-old American graduate student, arrives to stay with his family as an intern to Elio’s father, an archaeology professor. Over the course of the summer, Elio and Oliver develop an intense and passionate relationship, navigating the complexities of desire, identity, and the fleeting nature of time.


Elio Perlman

Elio, portrayed by Timothée Chalamet, is a bright and introspective teenager. His journey of self-discovery is central to the film’s narrative. Elio’s emotional depth and vulnerability make his experiences of love and heartbreak deeply resonant with viewers.


Armie Hammer plays Oliver, the confident and charismatic graduate student who becomes the object of Elio’s affection. Oliver’s presence is both a catalyst for Elio’s emotional growth and a symbol of the fleeting nature of first love.

Supporting Characters

  • Mr. Perlman: Elio’s father, played by Michael Stuhlbarg, who provides wisdom and support throughout Elio’s journey. His profound monologue towards the end of the film is one of its most memorable moments.
  • Annella Perlman: Elio’s mother, portrayed by Amira Casar, who adds warmth and understanding to the family dynamic.
  • Marzia: A local girl and Elio’s friend, who becomes entangled in his journey of self-discovery.

Themes Explored in “Call Me by Your Name”

First Love and Desire

The film beautifully captures the intensity and vulnerability of first love. Elio and Oliver’s relationship is portrayed with a delicate balance of passion and tenderness, illustrating the powerful emotions that accompany young love.

Identity and Self-Discovery

Elio’s journey is not only about his relationship with Oliver but also about discovering his own identity. The film explores the fluidity of sexuality and the process of understanding and accepting oneself.

The Passage of Time

“Call Me by Your Name” poignantly depicts the ephemeral nature of time. The idyllic summer setting serves as a backdrop for the fleeting moments of love and connection, emphasizing the bittersweet reality that such moments are often temporary.

Family and Support

The Perlman family, particularly Elio’s parents, play a crucial role in providing a supportive environment for his growth. The film’s portrayal of familial love and acceptance is both refreshing and impactful.

Luca Guadagnino’s Directorial Vision

Visual and Aesthetic Style

Guadagnino’s direction is marked by a lush and evocative visual style. The cinematography captures the beauty of the Italian countryside, immersing viewers in the world of the characters. The use of natural light and intimate camera work enhances the film’s emotional depth.

Narrative Pacing

The film’s deliberate pacing allows for a gradual unfolding of Elio and Oliver’s relationship. This approach gives the audience time to fully experience the nuances of their connection and the subtleties of their emotions.

Use of Music

The soundtrack of “Call Me by Your Name,” featuring songs by Sufjan Stevens, plays a significant role in conveying the film’s emotional tone. The music complements the narrative, adding layers of meaning to key scenes.

Impact and Legacy of “Call Me by Your Name”

Critical Acclaim

“Call Me by Your Name” received widespread critical acclaim, praised for its direction, screenplay, performances, and cinematography. The film garnered numerous awards and nominations, including four Academy Award nominations and a win for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Cultural Significance

The film’s portrayal of a same-sex romance with such sensitivity and nuance was a milestone in mainstream cinema. “Call Me by Your Name” contributed to broader discussions about representation and diversity in film, resonating deeply with LGBTQ+ audiences and beyond.

Influence on Future Filmmakers

The success of “Call Me by Your Name” has inspired other filmmakers to explore similar themes with authenticity and care. Its impact can be seen in the increasing number of films and series that depict LGBTQ+ relationships with complexity and respect.


“Call Me by Your Name” is a masterful exploration of love, identity, and the human experience. Through its compelling characters, evocative setting, and profound themes, the film offers a timeless and universal story that continues to resonate with audiences. Luca Guadagnino’s direction, combined with standout performances and a beautiful aesthetic, makes “Call Me by Your Name” a significant and enduring work in contemporary cinema.


  1. Who directed “Call Me by Your Name”?

 Luca Guadagnino directed “Call Me by Your Name,” bringing his distinctive visual style and emotional depth to the film.

  1. What is the main theme of “Call Me by Your Name”?

The main theme is the exploration of first love and self-discovery, focusing on the intense and transformative relationship between Elio and Oliver.

  1. How does the film depict the passage of time?

The film uses its idyllic summer setting and deliberate pacing to highlight the ephemeral nature of time, emphasizing the fleeting moments of love and connection.

  1. What role does music play in the film?

The soundtrack, particularly the songs by Sufjan Stevens, enhances the film’s emotional tone and adds layers of meaning to key scenes.

  1. Why is “Call Me by Your Name” culturally significant?

 The film’s sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a same-sex romance was a milestone in mainstream cinema, contributing to broader discussions about representation and diversity in film.

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