Call Me By Your Name…”And I’ll Call You By Mine”

Based on the novel by André Acimen and directed by Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name delivers a universal coming-of-age narrative. The two main characters’ relationship serves as a mirror through which viewers can recognize their own vulnerability and youth’s promise of love.

Against the backdrop of the Northern Italian countryside in the 1980’s, Call Me By Your Name is a beautiful portrait of the complexity of human desire and sexuality. Elio (the Academy Award-nominated Timothée Chalamet), is the adolescent son of a Jewish archaeologist and a French-Italian mother. Oliver (Armie Hammer, also nominated for an Academy Award), is a research assistant mentored by Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg). Invited to the professor’s home to gather data on ancient Greek sculpture during the summer, Oliver embark on what would be considered a morally-questionable romance, as he and the teenage Elio explore not only homosexual love but also love between an adolescent and an adult ten years older. Call Me By Your Name normalizes this relationship as simply a romance between two men that seems to exist completely outside of time. The two pass the summer under the glittering Italian sun, portraying both the brilliance of the landscape and the idyllic, albeit ephemeral, nature of summer love and heat.

Chalamet and Hammer deliver amazing and sensitive performances that truly capture the struggle of sexual exploration and identity. Call Me By Your Name reveals the subtle complexities and intense sexual attraction between Elio and Oliver, thus helping the viewer to really understand their romance as well as the games they play.. The character of Elio, in particular, proves incredibly raw, insightful, and even alluring—almost an archetype of male youth, mirrored in a pivotal scene where Elio’s father admires the erotic male sculpture of ancient Greece, stating that the art “dares you to desire them.” In his relatable, sometimes clumsy efforts at winning the affections of Oliver, Elio showcases his vulnerability, anguish, and self-actualization. These struggles are poetically articulated in scenes with Elio’s parents who, rather than denounce the relationship, encourage his self-exploration. Elio’s father delivers an electrifying speech–“We rip so much out of ourselves”– that unapologetically combats conventional notions of masculinity and human desire, lost youth, as well as the aching heartbreak of unrealized dreams.

— Sam McKeown, Guest blogger

Currently a graduate student at the American University of Paris exploring different methods of storytelling through food, Sam’s blog can be found at: placebuds.blog

Goodbye Christopher Robin – The Story Behind Winnie the Pooh

Guest Blogger, Mary Marcus, is a movie lover and enthusiastic reviewer.

Repressed feelings and isolation are channeled through writing what would be a children’s classic about a young boy and his animal friends in this historical drama, Goodbye Christopher Robin.

England after the First World War had rigid social rules and manners for the upper class, in an affectless culture. A.A. Milne came back from the war broken but unable to talk about the trauma he experienced.

A writer (of the beloved Winnie the Pooh series) and playwright, Milne (played by Domhnall Gleeson of Revenant), experiencing PTSD, moves to the country with his family. Caring for his son on his own, he and his son relate through a fantasy world of oddly named and imaginary animals. It is then that Winnie the Pooh and his magical world are discovered.

Post-WW I is a world of longing, deep emotion, unexpressed love, fear and anxiety, social problems, public school bullying, economic issues, and anti-war sentiment. It is this atmosphere that gives birth to an escape in the form of books about charming animals and a child, Christopher Robin.

A secondary theme is connection. The author’s son Christopher watches his emotionally distant father’s violent and traumatic reaction to noise. The boy wants to connect with his father but is fearful of him. Feeling abandoned he pushes his father to play with him in the woods. They build structures together for imaginary animals and through their creations, share a common reality and friendship.

The connection as well as disconnection alternate between Milne and his son. The private son-father moments become public with the publication of Winnie the Pooh. Christopher feels exploited that his name is used and that his favorite bear becomes Winnie the Pooh. The relationship starts to deteriorate when Christopher sees that the attention he receives from his father is tied to the book and its sales.

Winnie the Pooh
THE NEW ADVENTURES OF WINNIE THE POOH

At the end of the Second World War father and son are reunited and the viewer sees what happens to the adult Christopher and how he related to his legacy.

Goodbye Christopher Robin is a gentle, beautiful, anti-war film and a narrative of a father-son bonding in difficult times.

NOTE: “The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was more than 41 million: there were over 18 million deaths and 23 million wounded, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history. The total number of deaths includes from 9 to 11 million military personnel and about 5 to 6 million civilians…” Wikipedia