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We Can All Relate To Elio From 'Call Me By Your Name,' And We Can Also Learn Something Incredible

Accepting and living with the pain only leaves the possibility for improvement... for future joy, and future healing.

We Can All Relate To Elio From 'Call Me By Your Name,' And We Can Also Learn Something Incredible

(Warning: This article may contain spoilers.)

The other day, I finally watched the extraordinary 2017 film "Call Me by Your Name." The film was directed by Luca Guadagnino, and the screenplay, written by James Ivory, was based off Andre Aciman's 2007 novel of the same name. Before you say anything, yes, I know I'm extremely late watching this movie, and don't worry, by the time this article is published I will most likely be done reading the book. That being said, I can't begin to describe how beautiful this film was. It was an absolute cinematic masterpiece, to say the least.

To give you a little bit of context, the film is about Elio (played by the magnificent Timothee Chalamet), a 17-year-old who lives with his parents in Italy, and Oliver (played by the ever-so stunning Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old graduate student who comes to live with the family over the summer and help with Elio's father's (who is an archeology professor) academics.

Elio initially feels uneasy about Oliver staying with the family but nevertheless becomes progressively attracted to him.

The two ultimately develop an incredibly powerful and intimate relationship with one another — and despite both of them sexually engaging with girls, they don't develop the same intimacy with those female counterparts like they do with one another.

It is evident this is Elio's first love. It's his first time loving this hard and passionately.

And unfortunately, his first heartbreak as well.

I was discussing the meaning behind the title with my beautiful friend Jess subsequent to seeing the film. In the movie, both Elio and Oliver call one another by the other's name — symbolizing that they are intertwined, that their love is so potent they virtually are no longer two separate entities.

The end of the film takes place when the family is preparing for a Hanukkah dinner during winter time. Oliver has been gone for months at this point and calls the family to inform them of his future engagement.

The final scene is Elio staring into the fire. Crying. Reminiscing.

Sufjan Stevens' original song entitled "Visions of Gideon" plays lightly in the background.

"Is it a video?" That's the most striking line to me in the song. Elio keeps replaying the memories he had with Oliver over and over again in his head, almost like a video on repeat. He can't determine whether any of it's real or not or if it's simply a memory of the past.

Elio glances at the camera in the midst of crying before his mother calls out for him to join the family for dinner. It's almost as if he's trying to acknowledge the audience, validating each and every single one of our own experiences with heartbreak.

This scene shattered me. This movie shattered me. I am in tears every time I listen to Sufjan Stevens or watch that scene or even think about the love that was shared between Elio and Armie.

Listen to me when I say this. Love is fucking powerful. To find someone you love so deeply and passionately and wholeheartedly, and then to have that completely stripped away from you? Like it's only a memory? Or a video that you can no longer LIVE IN but just to play in your mind over and over again? That is PAIN. It is GRIEF.

And his family getting ready for dinner in the back to remind us that life continues despite our heartache: that life still passes us by, and it doesn't stop as abrupt as we think it does. We have to learn to live with the pain.

Nothing will ever compare to your first love. Nothing can EVER compare to the first time you felt yourself truly falling for someone and sharing a genuine connection with another human being. You will love again, but I don't think it will ever be the same.

I think one of the most impactful monologues in this film is Elio's talk with his dad, in which he states:

"We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster, that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything ― what a waste."

Think about it. When we face each hardship in our lives, we imbue ourselves in such a rush to get cured. We have such an inclination to quickly feel nothing rather than an abyss of sadness and, in essence, are reluctant to grow.

That's not how it should be. We must absorb the grief and sadness and learn from it. Don't feel nothing. Feeling something is good because we then become stronger individuals.

I'm not sure if it's the organic cadence of Stuhlbarg's enticing monologue, his masterful articulation, or the overall language of the piece that makes this scene undeniable visceral.

Whatever it may be, understand this: yes, those idyllic moments that keep replaying in your head may endlessly surface in your mind. Its true time is not quite comprehensible or palpable at the moment, and that may also take some time to revive itself. But, don't get caught in a paralysis of wanting that sense of nothingness as a substitute for your aching heart. Reaching out to people (as the father does with his son) can aid in the process of polishment and nourishment of the self. Accepting and living with the pain only leaves the possibility for improvement... for future joy, and future healing.

Please, please, please watch this movie. Read the book. It is not a "gay" film. It is a moving story about something we all go through and must deal with all the positives and negatives that it goes along with...


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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