Director Luca Guadagnino’s sunnily seductive ode to eros tells the story of a summer romance between 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet, looking 15) and 24-year-old Oliver (Armie Hammer, looking 30). Or rather, it explores the dynamics between them, operating at a cool remove from its own frank depiction of desperate teenage longing and volcanic sexual passion among brilliant Jewish outsiders in gorgeous Catholic Italy. There are people involved, sure, but the main thing you need to know about them is their wanting and being wanted, so that you may consider what that might mean. (The title is telling on this score.) Elio’s dad (Michael Stuhlbarg) is an archaeology professor who swoons over the sensuality of Greek statuary even as his son swoons over Pop’s statuesque grad student/houseguest. Mom serves up fresh-squeezed apricot juice, which Oliver guzzles before explaining how we got “apricot” from the Latin praecocia — “early ripen.” Everyone is terribly sophisticated and sensitive, so the drama surrounding the romance must be mostly self-generated: “Is it better to speak or to die?” Overall, the film throbs with feeling, but the pulse of felt life is faint.
Length: 2 hours, 10 minutes