Our writers pick their favourite scenes from the first half of Call Me by Your Name and write about what makes them great. Check back on Sunday for part 2. This is the second piece in our Special Issue on Call Me by Your Name. Read the rest of the issue here and get the eBook here.
At Seventh Row, we dedicate Special Issues only to films we’re really passionate about, and that we feel provide a lot to write on. This is the case with Call Me by Your Name: even with six feature articles on the film being released this week, there’s still so much we love about Luca Guadagnino’s latest that couldn’t fit neatly into multiple essays. So we asked a group of our writers to pick some of their favourite scenes and explore what it is they love about them.
In this part 1 we’ll be dissecting six scenes from the first half of the film, ordered chronologically. Click here for five more in part 2.
1. Apricot etymology
In André Aciman’s novel, and in the finished film, the moment where Oliver (Armie Hammer) explains to Michael Stulhbarg’s Mr. Perlman the origins of the word “apricot” is an opportunity for Oliver to showcase his intelligence, and to wow Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and his family.
There are multiple layers to Call Me by Your Name’s charm, but what makes this scene unique is its emphasis on intelligence as a turn on. Maybe because I am a former English major, but there’s something so intoxicating about watching a man as good-looking as Hammer break down the etymology of a word, citing its origins in Greek and Arabic. Be sure to look at Elio’s face the entire time, as he just sits there, mystified by this burst of knowledge, before settling into a bemused happiness. In this moment, Oliver has proven he is on par with Elio on an educational level, and is a touch haughty, his need to refute his more educated professor revealing a touch of arrogance. Based on Elio’s facial expressions, this is exciting to him; he’s found a person worthy of his affection. But the man who steals the show is Mr. Perlman, his contented nod of agreement with Oliver’s remarks doubling as a tacit concession that, yes, Oliver is amazing. – Kristen Lopez