It is another week of Pride month which means it is time for another review(?) of one of my favorites. Today we will be looking at Call Me By Your Name which was originally a book written by Andre Aciman then adapted to the 2017 film.
If you haven’t seen the film, it’s definitely worth the time. HOWEVER, I am here to sing more praises about the novel. Rather than breakdown the plot piece by piece I want to go over some of my favorite quotes from the book.
Of course, my entire copy is pretty much highlighted to the point it glows in the dark. Since I will spare everyone 1,000 quotes, I kept it simple!
1: “I suddenly realized that we were on borrowed time, that time is always borrowed, and that the lending agency exacts its premium precisely when we are least prepared to pay and need to borrow more…”
For those that don’t know, the story takes place in a nameless city/town in Italy where a young man and his family are visited by a graduate student named Oliver. During this summer Oliver and Elio experience a romance that is first shown with immense tension. It’s these two people that have immediate deep feelings for one another but cant/ don’t know how to express them.
The book, and I suppose the movie as well, focus specifically on the internal struggle of Elio. He is very much infatuated with Oliver but like any new love he is cursed with the, “do they or do they not feel the same?”
He mentions he read that love to some degree is always reciprocated. It is felt by one so it means it is felt by the other. Perhaps the other is not aware they feel it or perhaps they are not ready, but it is always there. I have my doubts about such an idea. What I DO believe 100% is that when someone loves then the other immediately knows. There’s something in the posture, the eye contact, and the speech that just gives it away. Perhaps it’s an energy thing! But I think despite Elio’s anxiety, Oliver had some idea.
The quote from the book above is one of my favorite’s because it speaks to one of the many truths this story hits; we have to get over our fears quicker than we’d like to believe because there really is never enough time. Once we finally jump and get to the reflection of “what was I so afraid of in the first place?” We have spent so many of the hours that could have been used to our advantage.
Time feels like a character in this story. The movie does an excellent job of translating that in specific moments. Off the top of my head, there’s an instant towards the end when Oliver hears the sound of an incoming train and he knows that time is just about up.
It speaks to their experience but it speaks so much to the reader as well. The power of melancholy and to stand in a moment that makes you feel so full that you panic even in it knowing it will soon be over.
2: “Perhaps we were friends first and lovers second. But then perhaps this is what lovers are.”
Yes. The ultimate lesson of love I have ever learned; the best romance and the best loves are those born from friendship. What better indicator is there to show that you both genuinely like each other as PEOPLE. We often confuse sex with love. We actually do this way too much. We live, sleep, and partner with people that we genuinely don’t like! All because they’re beautiful and we think that drug is everlasting.
Regarding the conversation around the gay experience, it is something I have often wondered… I see culture at times makes us defend to heterosexual men that “we don’t want to date you,” or “we’re not attracted to every man just because we’re gay.”
Uh, true! Yet, it avoids another truth that should be perfectly fine; we have f$#%# eyes and if you’re attractive we’re checking you out! Then, on a deeper level, romantic feelings can be confusing. Friendships in themselves carry so many intimacies. Sometimes, they can be more intimate than the relationship we have with a partner. What separates them from romantic interest is the absence of sexual desire. Well, what if one of the friends is wired that way? It is totally possible for a friendship to become a very confusing territory!
Then, bringing it back to this story, what if two friends who have never identified with “gay” find themselves feeling things like Elio and Oliver did? Oh, by the way, both of which grew up and had relationships with women and even married. Does it make their marriages less valid? Do they HAVE to identify as something for everyone because of a private experience?
3. “We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!”
This quote by Elio’s father is my favorite in the whole book. It is the golden piece of advice we all need. Let’s keep it real, folks! One of the biggest things about getting older is the increase of cynicism in our souls. We get so beaten by difficult moments in life, be they romantic or something other, that we grow callous. Often we don’t even realize it’s happened until a moment shoots us back to our past/youth and we notice we were someone totally different with way more hope.
Elio’s father makes it a point to his son that despite what he has “lost” he should remember how good it was. He should remember how there are people who go their entire lives and never experience something like it. There is space to be grateful and that is ultimately how you keep your heart open- gratitude.
4.“He came. He left. Nothing else had changed. I had not changed. The world hadn’t changed. Yet nothing would be the same. All that remains is dreammaking and strange remembrance.”
We never forget our first love. Yet I appreciate the honesty of this quote. Nothing and/or neither of you really change because you knew each other. I think people change and grow because it’s just the way they’re going. It often happens without partners knowing and it turns into the need for a conversation to explain why a split needs to happen.
Yet memories are forever! I think important meetings stay with us even when/ ultimately when the other has to go.
Guys, overall I would give the MOVIE a 3.5/5 potatoes. Yet, for the sake of the real gem, I give the novel a 5/5. It’s worth the read! It does what all good stories do when they set out to sea; it lets you know you are not the only one who has ever thought/felt such things and it’s ok if and when it happens again.