Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Call Me By Your Name follows a teenage boy, Elio, played by Timothée Chalamet, over the summer of 1983.  Elio is living with his parents in the northern Italy countryside.  His father is an archaeology professor and brings on graduate students each year to assist him in his research.  When Oliver, played by Armie Hammer, arrives at the Italian estate, Elio becomes interested in him and they soon begin to have a romantic relationship.

With all of the hype this movie received, I expected it to be a compelling and emotional love story.  However, it came across more like an inappropriate and abusive relationship.  This film is branded as a coming of age story, following an adolescent going through his first love experience.  Although, Oliver’s predatory nature makes the romantic love story seem gross.  Call Me By Your Name instead follows the story of a young kid subtly seduced by an older and more experienced man, and then manipulated into a confusing and involved relationship that is way over his head.  On top of that, there seems to be a lack of communication conveyed through the storytelling; perhaps it was the lack of chemistry that I felt from the two leads.  Their relationship seemed to escalate at a rate that did not make sense given the information we had been presented with.

If you are looking for a compelling and emotionally driven film about LGBTQ subject matter, then you should watch some more eloquently executed films like God’s Own Country or 120 Beats Per Minute.

2017: Turmoil, Natural Disasters, and a Glimmer of Hope

As 2016 came to a close, everyone was ready to start fresh in 2017.  However, 2017 did not seem fresh and clean, instead it was a fresh start to a new brand of turmoil and vocal defiance.  Violence and unrest was at the forefront for most of 2017.  Trump continued his unique, antagonistic version of political and social interaction.  Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston and hurricanes Irma and Maria decimated Florida and Puerto Rico.  The United States, and specifically the film industry and political figures, saw a gender revolution in terms of women speaking out about sexual assault.  On a personal level, I saw the birth of my son, which created a shining and distracting light through the turbulence of the year.  It also limited my movie watching time, and so I am a little behind on films this year.

God’s Own Country (2017)

A depressed young man struggles to stay sober while working on his family’s farm.  His paralyzed father is unable to work and the demoralized son is being stretched too thin.  In an effort to help pick up the slack, the father hires a temporary Romanian laborer who helps keep the farm running smoothly and cures the son’s loneliness.

Roman J Israel, Esq (2017)

When the lead attorney of a firm suffers a heart attack, his behind the scenes partner must step in and handle his court appearances.  His incredible memory and deep understanding of law is undercut by his inept social skills.  Roman J Israel, Esq. follows Roman as he embarks on a new chapter of his life where his social justice roots are challenged by greed and the evolving culture around him.