This film had a very limited release in the UK back on the 27th of October 2017; after initially premiering right back at the start of 2017, on the 22nd of January, at Sundance. However, as this film has received a large number of award nominations, Odeon decided to do a showing for one night only on Wednesday evening (21st February) at 20:15 in their cinemas across the country. So, when I caught one of the showings I was very pleased. But would the film live up to my very high expectations?
What is it about?
A family from the US, who have a home “somewhere in Northern Italy”, spend all of their holidays out in Italy enjoying the sun, reading and swimming in the lake. We follow the main protagonist Elio (Timothée Chalamet) on his journey throughout the summer break of 1983. Every summer, the Professor/ Mr Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) invites a student to stay with the family, and this particular year Oliver (Armie Hammer) is invited to stay to help with the Professor’s research. Over the course of the six week summer break, Elio and Oliver bond over emerging sexuality, jewish heritage and general requited love.
Is it an emotional film?
This film is hugely emotional. Due to the superb acting showcased in this film (and a number of other factors,) when either of the main protagonists, or more subordinate characters, underwent adversity at all it was a real weight of emotional heft. The ending really stuck with me and I am proud to admit that I cried in the cinema and as soon as I tried to talk coming out, I broke down into floods of tears. I can’t really pinpoint one thing that made me sad more the accumulation of a number of things working in tandem.
Did you like it?
I loved this film because it just has so much going for it. Including:
- A sharp, simple narrative- This film won best adapted screenplay and I can see exactly why. It captures perfectly, the development of a boy’s summer as we almost feel like we are there with him experiencing things as he does.
- It is hugely sensual- Everything is up close and bathed in beautiful, golden sunlight. Just small movements are engaging and beautiful and this is largely due to the exceptional camera work. I am very surprised that this film didn’t even receive a nomination for cinematography, as it felt pivotal throughout the film accentuating our viewing experience.
- It is an experience like no other- Just the way it begins, sets it apart instantly. It doesn’t go straight into the plot, but instead places all the names of: the actors involved, the director, screenplay writer etc… individually on the screen for about two or three minutes with music; which I have to say I thought was really interesting. Moreover, the very first scene begins with the cameras close to Marzia and Elio, which gave the impression of being personal. Just little touches like this throughout set the tone.
- The music is exceptional- I think that the tie to music and importance of it throughout the film was exquisite. Ironically, my two other favourite films have strong importance drawn to the music: Baby Driver and La La Land.
- It only improved as it moved into the third act- Some films, even really good ones, tend to lose their way in the final section however this was a real anomaly. It actually improves toward the end, which when watching at the start, I wouldn’t have said was possible.
- The acting was incredible- Timothée Chalamet leads from the front in this film backed up by an phenomenal ensemble. Without even a single performance from the whole group, this film would have been completely different and I’m so glad that it wasn’t.
Will everyone like it?
I think the simple answer to this question is no; I don’t think this film will be for everyone. I think for the vast majority it will be one of the best films they have ever seen, however, as with all films, there will be people, crazy people, that don’t like it and that is fine as that is their opinion. But my opinion is very different, as this film is my FAVOURITE FILM EVER.
Was there anything you didn’t like?
No. Absolutely nothing.
Conclusion- None of my words will put justice to the film, so, I’ll just let my perfect rating tell the story for me.
My Rating- 10/10
My amended top 3 of the year:
1) Call Me by Your Name
2) The Shape of Water