Call Me By Your Name (2017) and Lady Bird (2017) Movie Review
Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird are well received by both film critics and movie fans. Heading into the Oscar nomination announcements, these two films are getting a certain amount of buzz. Coincidentally, Timothée Chalamet is the lead actor in Call Me By Your Name and he also plays a minor role in Lady Bird.
Both of these coming of age films take a different approach, each offering a different but important lesson. Call Me By Your Name is a sincere drama. Elio (Chalamet) is a seventeen year old young man in 1983 Italy. He begins to explore his sexuality when an older family friend Oliver (Armie Hammer) stays in their home for the summer.
Directed by Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name isn’t for a target niche audience. The reason is not only because modern culture has a much more accepting attitude towards gay relationships, but that the take away from Call Me By Your Name is about following your heart which is an universal message. It takes courage to live your life and allow yourself to feel all the pain and sadness that comes with it.
While it can be a drawback to some viewers, the slow pace approach to developing the relationship between Elio and Oliver is the right one. The film takes time to show, such as scenes where the two discuss music composition, that they have an intimate and intellectual connection going on. From the country side to picturesque little towns, summer in Italy provides an idyllic backdrop. The cinematography captures this quite well without overly romanticizing it. Further, Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer’s performances are both solid.
A lot of people are smitten with writer/director Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, a comedy/drama centered on seventeen year old Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson in her senior year at a Sacramento Catholic high school. It’s apparent Lady Bird draws upon some of the writer’s own experiences in a good way. There’s an authenticity to the teenage experience of wanting to form your own identity and deciding what you want to do after high school.
The mother and daughter relationship is the key to Lady Bird. Marion the mom, played with a deft comedic touch by Laurie Metcalf, doesn’t want to set up “Lady Bird” for failure so she tries really hard to be a pragmatic parent. In addition to funny quips, some of the humor comes from “Lady Bird” resisting her mom and instead following her own intuition and sense of adventure. What I like about the ending is that it isn’t overly dramatic or contrived. It comes like a realization that eventually dawns on you.
Saoirse Ronan’s role as Lady Bird doesn’t stretch this talented actress’ abilities. This should be her last teenage role, especially since in 2015’s Brooklyn she was already playing a character in her early to mid twenties.
Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird offer fairly good stories, characters and well-meaning messages. As much as I like coming of age films including these two, I probably won’t be rewatching these any time soon as there are so many truly great films to discover.
Call me cynical. On a different note, over the last few years as I learn more about Hollywood, the more I realize the push for certain Oscar contenders have a political component to it. I would be lying if I were to say these two films are in my top 5 of 2017. As I catch up with other 2017 films, I doubt these two films would make even make my personal top 10, but I wouldn’t hold it against anyone who does. Later.