Call Me By Your Name needs no introduction. Publications and people alike have been tripping over themselves this past week to recommend you go see the Luca Guadagnino film, based on the novel by André Aciman, about the romance between 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timotheé Chalamet) and 24-year-old Oliver (Armie Hammer). But, despite the extensive reviews and thinkpieces about the film, there's one thing that's been driving me insane ever since I saw it, a recurring character trait pertaining to Elio that no other publication seems to have noticed.
In an interview with Newsweek, Chalamet says so much of his character "is in relation to Oliver. Sometimes he’s peeved by him, sometimes he’s amused by him, sometimes he’s deeply repelled by him, sometimes he’s deeply attracted to him." Again, not good enough.
Even Metacritic's more detailed description of the character as "a precocious 17- year-old American-Italian" who "spends his days in his family’s 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzi" leaves out the one thing Elio spends most of the film doing: sleeping.
Elio! Is very! Sleepy! He spends an absurd amount of the film napping, waking up from a nap, falling asleep, being jostled awake, or lying in bed only to drift off. According to Everyday Health, 17-year-olds need an average of nine hours of sleep, and in this two hour and twelve minute film, Elio overcomes the laws of time and space to somehow surpass that.
Wake up! This is a film!
Of course, Elio (and by extension, Chalamet) makes up for his lethargy during the 80% of the film that he's awake (but, let me be clear, that percentage is generous) by giving a powerfully thoughtful, charming, and moving performance as a teenage boy grappling, and eventually embracing, his sexuality.
But when (yes, when) Chalamet wins that Oscar, we'll know what it really was for:
Call Me By Your Name, starring Chalamet, Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, and Esther Garrel, is in cinemas now.