Thursday, February 1, 2018

My Moral Compass Got in the Way

Semi-Spoiler Alert - I don't think it spoils the movie, but if you're worried, wait and read it later.

We were on a roll, Scarlett and I.  First Lady Bird, then The Shape of WaterWe were working our way through the Oscars, one great film at a time.  While waiting for The Phantom Thread to be shown on the big, 70mm screen at The Loft, we took ourselves to see Call Me By Your Name this morning.


There were five of us in the theater.  Scarlett and I chose different seats in the front row of the loge, just because we could.  The previews enticed us to make plans to see the nominated short films when they arrive in February.  We turned off our phones and settled in to be taken in by the languorous meanderings of a James Ivory film.

It was beautiful; the NY Daily News nominated Crema, the city where the film takes place, for an Oscar.  The countryside is verdant and warm and inviting; I wanted to be on a bicycle behind them as they rode to the river or the typist or back home again to a villa I wish I, instead of Elio's mother, had inherited. 

The music was outstanding, at times overshadowing the script. Bach and Liszt and Ravel and others swoop in and out and around as the story became, for me, darker and darker.

Armee Hammer is just drop dead gorgeous.  It was easy to see why everyone fell in love with him.  He started out as an ass, but a gorgeous ass.  I know about his ass because the cinematographer followed it everywhere Armee went.  When the camera wasn't focused on his tush or his pecs, it moved to Timothee Chalamet's crotch.  I knew it was a sensual, sexy, R rated film; I didn't need to be hit over the head with it.

Scarlett posited that most 17 year old boys think about sex and only sex for most of their waking hours.  Since the story is told from Chalamet's point of view, perhaps she has a point here.  Still, it felt heavy handed to me..... and maybe that's because, as the story went on, it began to feel like kiddie porn.

We know at the start that Elio, the son, the boy, the prodigy, is 17.  We know that Oliver is a graduate student; though the reviews call him 24 that's never made explicit.  He's older, further along in life, an adult.  He was a guest in the family's home.  The power differential, the insult to his hosts, the fact that the kid was a kid, even if he did smoke cigarettes in front of his folks, it all made me crazy.

Elio initiates slap fights.  He jumps on Oliver's back like a youngster asking for a piggy back ride.  Oliver enfolds Elio in his arms and all I could see was an adult abusing a child.  All the I didn't mess you up? worries in the world couldn't scrape me off the back of my chair.  Ugh.

Not the homosexuality.  Not his father's speech at the end.  Not anything at all except that, as my mother said to me and I said to Little Cuter,  you are a fascinating human being, but you're 16 years old..... he's a grown up and you are not.  


  1. I won't likely see any of them, at least not in the theater, but agree totally about sex with minors. There is a movement out there trying to justify it-- NAMBLA. Every so often they surface. It's a shame that it's put out in a movie that is critically acclaimed :(. I don't care if it's same sex or opposite, it's just wrong and that means these teachers who are abusing their position of trust and some have been women

    1. If you see one of them, have it be the Shape of Water. I stare, enthralled, at the commercials for it on tv.

      My 26 year old Pilates instructor saw it and agreed with me, which made me feel less of an elderly curmudgeon.


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