By JACOB TRASK
I watched The Notebook with my sister when I was eight, and obviously I hated it. It was one of her favorite movies, like many other 14-year-old girls in 2004. I’ve seen it a handful of times over the last 13 years, and each time I watch it, I further reconsider my original opinions about it. Understand, I will throw that movie under the bus as much as any other male college student who loves Game of Thrones and Tarantino, but since I’ve grown into a big fan of film, I’ve found that there is something incredibly authentic about The Notebook that made it one of the best romance movies ever.
It’s the impeccable chemistry between lead actors Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams that turned The Notebook a phenomenon and elevated the movie above just about every other romantic drama of the 2000s. We haven’t seen a movie quite like The Notebook since–until the end of last year.
Call Me by Your Name is one of the highest rated films of 2017, and might be the only film even close to The Notebook in terms of an authentic romance.
The film stars the rapidly emerging Timothee Chalamet as Elio, a 17-year-old Jewish Italian indulging in the luxuries of a summer at his family’s private manor in 1983 Italy. He soon meets Oliver (played by Armie Hammer), a young graduate student from the United States who is staying at the family’s manor for the summer to study under Elio’s father, an archaeology professor.
Elio and Oliver begin spending time with each other, as Elio shows Oliver the town and takes him to clubs on weekend to dance. While they party, Elio watches Oliver pick up girls, and flirts with the crush of his own, the beautiful Marzia. Elio begins sleeping with her, and brags about it to Oliver. But as clues and hints unfold, Elio and Oliver soon develop a romantic relationship. As Elio begins exploring his sexuality and Oliver enjoys an Italian summer romance, the ticking clock of their romance progresses.
Overall, the film is a demanding but rewarding watch. It’s a slow-burn, executed well by Italian director Luca Guadagnino, who adapted it from a novel by Andre Aciman. Although the movie has its slow chunks, it keeps its intrigue through the performances of Chalamet and Hammer.
The duo is the movie power couple of 2017, not only because of the story the film tells, but because of how both actors shine in their roles. Their on-screen chemistry resembles that of Gosling and McAdams and their individual performances are deserving of their Oscar nominations.
Although Chalamet and Hammer are the highlight and focal point of this film, the most appealing thing about it to me is how random and realistic the whole story is. On a grand scale, it’s just a movie about some guy’s summer romance as a teenager in the 80s. But the story is told in such a poetically mundane way, simply showing this short romance through the eyes of one teenage boy.
The film is so simple and basic, but poetic and cinematically beautiful at the same time, which is why it received four Oscar nominations, including Best Actor (Chalamet), and Best Picture.
Call Me by Your Name is among the highest rated films of 2017 on IMDB with an 8.2/10 and on Rotten Tomatoes with 96 percent. It’s easily one of the favorites to win the Oscar for Best Picture, competing with films like Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
The film is currently dwindling from Tampa theaters. If you don’t catch it in time, it may be re-released back into theaters after the Oscars.
Jacob Trask can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.