The hottest gay romance this summer, unfortunately, won’t be yours! But you’ll probably agree once you’ve seen Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name.
One scene in Call Me By Your Name is set to become a moment of classic cinema. Seventeen-year-old Elio, the son of an American academic, masturbates into a pitted peach while fantasising about Oliver, his dad’s 24-year-old research assistant. When he’s done, Oliver brings the peach to his lips and…
But that scene alone is not why the film has become one of the most talked-about of the year. Call Me By Your Name has been embraced by gay and straight audiences who are falling in love with its beauty, sweet melancholy, and authenticity and are hailing it as a bold step forward for gay-themed feature films.
Directed by Italian Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name is a romantic coming-of-age drama adapted from the 2007 novel by American writer Andre Aciman. The story, set in the ’80s, centres around Elio Perlman who lives with his parents in Crèma, Northern Italy. When his father takes in a student, Oliver, Elio’s adolescent sexuality is woken.
In the lead romantic roles are Timothée Chalamet (Interstellar) as Elio and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as Oliver. Interestingly, the affair between the older and younger men has only caused a tiny ripple of consternation, including a tweet by actor James Woods who referred to “chipping away at the last barriers of decency”. Armie Hammer shut down that line of criticism by response tweet: “Didn’t you date a 19-year-old when you were 60?”
For Italians, there is no issue with the age gap. The age of consent in Italy is 14. Chalamet looks in his mid-teens in the film, even though he was 21 at the time of filming.
In the past, films that have dealt with age gaps in sexual relationships have been met with varying degrees of outrage: For A Lost Soldier, American Beauty, L.I.E., Lolita and The Graduate spring to mind. But where those films delved into the forbidden, tweaking audiences’ sense of either moral shock or fetishism, Call Me By Your Name neither moralizes nor judges. The story has a sincerity that seems to pluck the heartstrings of even the most cynical viewers.
Read more about Armie Hammer and our review of Call Me By Your Name in DNA #215, on sale now.