Books To Screen : Call Me By Your Name –– If Not Later, When?

Books To Screen : Call Me By Your Name –– If Not Later, When?


In early-1980s northern Italy, amid the lush Mediterranean landscapes of a serene and golden summer, 17-year-old, Elio, visits the family’s summer villa to spend his vacation with his father and Greco-Roman culture professor, Mr Perlman, his translator mother, Annella, and the American doctoral student who works there as an intern, Oliver. But, little by little, over the course of six fleeting weeks, a timid friendship between Elio and Oliver will prepare the ground for an unexpected bond, as the unexplored emotions of first love start boiling over. Could this sun-kissed romance in Lombardy be the prelude to maturity?




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A Sneak Peek Into The Story :



Italy. Summer. The noise of the cicadas in the early afternoon. My room. His room. Our balcony that shut the whole world out. The soft wind trailing exhalations from our garden up the stairs to my bedroom. The summer I learned to love fishing. Because he did. To love jogging. Because he did. To love octopus, Heraclitus, Tristan. The summer I’d hear a bird sing, smell a plant, or feel the mist rise from under my feet on warm sunny days and, because my senses were always on alert, would automatically find them rushing to him.

I had wanted other men my age before and had slept with women. But before he’d stepped out of the cab and walked into our home, it would never have seemed remotely possible that someone so thoroughly okay with himself might want me to share his body as much as I ached to yield up mine.



Usually, I’d cast a glance and then look away—look away because I didn’t want to swim in the lovely, clear pool of his eyes unless I’d been invited to—and I never waited long enough to know whether I was even wanted there; look away because I was too scared to stare anyone back; look away because I didn’t want to give anything away; look away because I couldn’t acknowledge how much he mattered.

I know books, and I know how to string words together—it doesn’t mean I know how to speak about the things that matter most to me. Even if this is all he is willing to give, I’ll take it—I’ll settle for less, even, if only to live with these threadbare scraps.



What I would have settled for was not his friendship, not anything. Just to look up and find him there, suntan lotion, straw hat, red bathing suit, lemonade. To look up and find you there, Oliver. For the day will come soon enough when I’ll look up and you’ll no longer be there.




Movie Versus Book : 


Call Me By Your Name the movie told a story about love, the novel however, did not. 

First things first, I wanted to say that I adored this movie. It was because of the movie that I eventually decided to pick the book up despite having had the book recommended to me time and time again by friends and family.



I was so enthralled, so curious about the workings of the Elio’s mind. Why he did the things he did, and acted the way he did with Oliver in the movie, continued to plague me. Until I could not take it no more and decided to find out once and for all, and finally cracked the book open. 

The reading process was difficult, to say the least. It could be because the plot of the movie was still so fresh in mind when I decided to jump straight into the book. Or it could be because I was wearing a rose-tinted glasses at the time, after having finished the movie, and having it yanked so suddenly away from me was so mind-boggling that I did not know what to do and how to react.

After reading the book, the first thing that I can now say was that, yes, I found the answers to my questions. I walked away with a deeper understanding to Elio’s mind and train of thought. I finally understood his reasonings behind why he did what he did in the movie. 



My one fault, however, was in the fact that I picked up the book under the premise that it would be about this grandeur of a love story that transcends time and space. I expected it to be able this marvelous story about how these characters eventually found and fell in love, only to be slapped back to earth by reality.

Because after finishing the book, I was disappointed. The book, in comparison to the movie, was not – in my opinion – about a love story at all. It was more of a story about coming of age-ness. About lust, and desire, and exploration about one’s sexuality at the cusp of adulthood. And I would be a hypocrite to say that – as much as I hated to say it – it did not alter the way I see the film. Because it did.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still adored and loved the movie. I don’t think there will ever come a day where I will stop loving this movie and it’s characters. Call Me By Your Name – the movie –  was simply beautiful. From the cinematography, to the setting, the soundtrack and the actors. I even re-watch it 4 times after my initial viewing of the movie. One does not simply rewatch a movie so many times if they did not love it.



However, I would be lying if I told you that now having read the book, that I wasn’t comparing the scenes in the movie with the thoughts of the characters in the book when said scene was happening, and found myself more than a little bit dispirited by it. Did I regret reading the novel? Of course not. I was glad I did. However, there were times where looking back, I wished I would have read the book first and then watched the movie, that way I would have been able to take the shock better, I think.


call me by your name movie review


For those of you who has read the book, you know that for the most part, the story is more and less the same when compared movie and novel. Only a few things were altered and done differently. Namely, the controversial Peach Scene. For those of you who has read the novel, you know that in the novel, the whole scene unravel differently. The scene that happened in the novel being more explicit than how it was presented on the screen. The way the whole thing unfolded in the movie turned out to be way less sexual and more emotional, in my opinion. 

Which, I loved. I liked that Guadagnino chose to not go by the book and altered it a little bit. Because to be quite honest with you, I was a tad bit disturbed by the fact that in the book, Oliver ended up consuming said peach, knowing full well what Elio has done with it before. And I get it, by eating the peach, Oliver was showing Elio how he wanted, loved and accepted every single part of Elio. I get it, I really do. But still, there is just some part about that that doesn’t sit right with me, which was why I was glad that Guadagnino chose to alter the plot instead.


call me by your name movie review


Another thing that was done differently in the film was the ending. I was surprised, when I read the novel that the story actually continues up to Elio being an adult, all the while continuing to keep in touch with Oliver. In the movie – as well all know – it seems like everything between Elio and Oliver ended after that one phone call where Oliver announced that he was getting married to another woman. There was just this air of finality to it, how it announced that that was it. That was all Oliver and Elio could ever have. That one summer in Italy.

Which is why this particular news took me by surprise. If you haven’t heard –– the director, Luca Guadagnino is planning to make a sequel to Call Me By Your Name. Saying that Call Me By Your Name is just the opening act to his character’s story, and mentioning the fact that he thinks he might need 5 films to be able to tell the story fully. I mean, I am not sure how one can stretch a novel to 5 movies. But I mean, if the sequels to come will be as beautiful and as breathtaking as the movie Call Me By Your Name, then a girl has nothing to complain about. 

And I understand that it must not have been easy bringing Call Me By Your Name from words to motion. And truly, I really think Guadagino did such an amazing job, putting in his 100% and turning this movie into a masterpiece. Not to mention, the actors were all very talented –– especially my cutie pie Timothée –– by being able to convey so much – distress, need, want, shame – without needing words and just with the contours of their bodies alone.



Last Thoughts :


Despite my clashing opinion on the book and movie, I hope it did not hinder anyone who hasn’t read the novel or the watched the film from doing so. Because the movie was simply marvelous, and honestly exhilarating to watch. As for the book, I have done a more in-depth review on it, if you are interested to do more research before going into it.

However, another thing that I have found out after finishing the book was that different readers take away different things from the novel. Which is so interesting to see, as a lot of my friends who has read this book perceives it very differently from how I perceive the novel. So while I might have not enjoyed it as much, it does not mean that you won’t. 



“Let summer never end, let him never go away, let the music on perpetual replay play forever,

I’m asking for very little, and I swear I’ll ask for nothing more.”





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