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Anyone Read The Aciman Novel Call Me By Your Name

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  • LangeWeaver2
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    #1202462461

    Just wondering what people who have read the novel think comparing it with the movie.  I thought the movie did it justice.

    There are always going to be things to nitpick in the adaptation, but I thought mostly Guadagnino understood the core themes of the books and he and the cast clearly had an understanding of who the characters are.

    What about you guys?

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    salvador
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    #1202462485

    I think he did capture the main themes of the book, but, IMO, Ivory left out two things that should have been in the movie. First, the dying girl Oliver met there and became friends with. I just think that added so much dimension to his character. And it’s a shame he completely left out the entire Rome segment. It was my favorite part of the book but I do unterstand that, had it been kept, it would have been against the tone of the movie. And the other nickpick I have is that the Elio I envisioned while reading was completely different from Chamalet’s portrayal. I did love his performance, but I just thought he should have been slightly less “cool”, more introvert, if that makes any sense.

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    Malcolm Dunbar
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    #1202462505

    Guadagnino stripped down the most disturbing and salacious parts of Elio to the bare minimum, but that is for the best – because Elio is freakin’ crazy, and his mind is all together rather frantic and strange at best and absolutely erratic at it’s worst. I remember several times having to put down the book because his mental gymnastics about the smallest things were just exhausting.

    I don’t think Chamalet plays Elio as he is understood in the book. He is not flawed enough, and I think it’s purposeful because he doesn’t want to make Elio look insane. Instead I think Guadagnino lets him flourish as a normal teenager and the film is all the better for it. When I say Elio is odd, he really is odd. His mind is all over the place and he goes from loving Oliver one minute to hating him in the next second – he game me flashes of Borderline Personality Disorder at one point with his hot and cold temper tantrums. If Elio were to be portrayed more realistically in a xeroxed adaptation I don’t think many viewers would like him. I imagined Elio with lots of ticks and mannerisms verging on some sort of psychological axis II behavioral spectrum. That is completely waved away in the film adaption in it’s entirety more or less, and Elio is an accessible teenager who the audience can easily identify with.

    Oliver is different too. Hammer enthuses Oliver with more life and levity than is hinted at in the book. In the book Oliver is a steal trap of repressed masculinity. Monosyllabic,  steel faced and emotionally shut down/dormant – there are even times when he is spoken of as being mean and/or cruel although that can just be an unreliable narrator talking – because again Elio is kind of crazy. Hammer’s Oliver is thankfully a bit more than that, and all together different. He actually seems like a real person and a warm human being if a bit reserved. His comedic moments really sell him as a true person.

    The rest of the characters seem about right more or less. Marzia gets more of a focus in the film than in the book, and the mother as a character seems to be substituted for another character from the book all together. I forget her name but it’s obvious the mother is the little girl who is a genius that lives next door to Elio in the book. The mother in the original book doesn’t really get much of a story but here the mother seems to have an established relationship to all the characters in the film.

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    LangeWeaver2
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    #1202462514

    The Rome segment missing did sting a bit, yes, but I think you’re right in that the movie’s screenplay was nice and tight and would have seemed too loose without the bit in Rome.

    I also agree that Oliver’s young friend should have been included.  Just in general I thought his character development was a bit lacking in the film, and including her would have been a relatively easy way to give him more to do.

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    sofan
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    #1202462516

    I think the adaptation wasn’t satisfying, it is definitely good but could’ve been better.

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    lorelei lor
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    #1202462526

    I listened to the audiobook narrated by Armie. He does does an amazing job of it, particularly with the pacing and the intensity of passion. But I feel like it may be one of the rare times the movie actually has an edge on the book.

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    LangeWeaver2
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    #1202462530

    I don’t think Elio is odd, or maybe I’m odd.  I tried to read this as a teenager and couldn’t because I was identifying with his angst way too personally.  As a 20-something it was much easier for me to read it with some distance from that time in my life.

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    manalemel
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    #1202462541

    Guadagnino stripped down the most disturbing and salacious parts of Elio to the bare minimum, but that is for the best – because Elio is freakin’ crazy, and his mind is all together rather frantic and strange at best and absolutely erratic at it’s worst. I remember several times having to put down the book because his mental gymnastics about the smallest things were just exhausting. I don’t think Chamalet plays Elio as he is understood in the book. He is not flawed enough, and I think it’s purposeful because he doesn’t want to make Elio look insane. Instead I think Guadagnino lets him flourish as a normal teenager and the film is all the better for it. When I say Elio is odd, he really is odd. His mind is all over the place and he goes from loving Oliver one minute to hating him in the next second – he game me flashes of Borderline Personality Disorder at one point with his hot and cold temper tantrums. If Elio were to be portrayed more realistically in a xeroxed adaptation I don’t think many viewers would like him. I imagined Elio with lots of ticks and mannerisms verging on some sort of psychological axis II behavioral spectrum. That is completely waved away in the film adaption in it’s entirety more or less, and Elio is an accessible teenager who the audience can easily identify with. Oliver is different too. Hammer enthuses Oliver with more life and levity than is hinted at in the book. In the book Oliver is a steal trap of repressed masculinity. Monosyllabic, steel faced and emotionally shut down/dormant – there are even times when he is spoken of as being mean and/or cruel although that can just be an unreliable narrator talking – because again Elio is kind of crazy. Hammer’s Oliver is thankfully a bit more than that, and all together different. He actually seems like a real person and a warm human being if a bit reserved. His comedic moments really sell him as a true person. The rest of the characters seem about right more or less. Marzia gets more of a focus in the film than in the book, and the mother as a character seems to be substituted for another character from the book all together. I forget her name but it’s obvious the mother is the little girl who is a genius that lives next door to Elio in the book. The mother in the original book doesn’t really get much of a story but here the mother seems to have an established relationship to all the characters in the film.

    You just perfectly encapsulated the primary reason this adaptation of CMBYN is nothing more than a good film, as opposed to a truly transcendent one.  Elio’s characterization in the novel is so far removed from Chalamet’s portrayal, Guadagnino’s direction, and Ivory’s adaptation, that it’s almost an entirely different character that just happens to get some of the same lines and story beats.

    Elio IS neurotic, he IS crazed to a certain degree, and he IS in constant and anxious conflict with himself, his choices, and the world around him.  Add Oliver to the mix, who I actually find to be LESS of a cipher in the book (and this without the help of Vimini, who I found utterly insufferable and cliche, akin to anything Nicholas Sparks does), and Elio is borderline on the verge of a breakdown.  BUT, he recognizes this, even if it’s mostly unspoken: that’s why the prose is so densely packed with his thoughts.  Every step of the way he’s trying to figure things out, and overthink things, and make mistakes and then try to take them back almost immediately.  THAT’S the Elio I knew back in 2007, and it’s most certainly not the aloof, too-cool-for-school portrayal Chalamet has given.  His tender moments are wildly overshadowed by his lack of inner conflict when it comes to Oliver; for the most part, he pines, he acts out, and then he GETS Oliver…  And then he loses him, and then he has that three-minute close-up every review brings up where supposedly Chalamet gives us the entire diorama of Elio’s and Oliver’s time together while Sufjan Stevens keeps asking us if it’s a video.  I mean…  Sure, he’s a lovely guy, and it’s an undoubtedly beautiful shot…  But, I took nothing from it that I hadn’t already gathered from having read the novel.

    Guadagnino & Co. do certain things very well, though: Marzia, the production and costume design, the choice of music (even though it’s pretty precious at times and deviates quite a bit from Elio’s own repertoire in the book), the family connections within the Perlman clan (they felt 100% like a real family to me, and saw a lot of my own family and how we are in them), and the “summertime” laziness that kind of spreads across one’s mind and body during those few glorious months.

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    Thomas Eagan
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    #1202462548

    There were definitely some differences but the love story was very much the same. The book is certainly worth reading. The ending of the book actually takes the story 20 years ahead. Again we’ll worth reading.

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    HotNerdLover
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    #1202462616

    Undoubtedly, the film is an improvement on the novel. Chalamet grounds Elio and gives the character an edge and allure than he lacked in prose. The equivalent of the novel would have been Elio speaking in voice-over in full-on, stream-of-consciousness, fawning over the object of his affection while picking the petals off of a flower one by one. The novel drags and is repetitive when it needn’t be, is what I’m saying.

    The film, conversely, is a dance. It’s sensual and fumbling and fleeting. A beautiful slow burn that is both languid and kinetic; Elio and Oliver are anticipating and responding to each other’s every move with such palpable interest that we, in turn, do the same. We begin to examine their micro-expressions as intently as they do – now that’s damn good cinema.

    The novel isn’t bad, by any means. Though there are many tedious stretches, you do get a sense of the deep yearning Elio feels, and its simplicity and depth is, at times, enchanting.

    But the film, it’s a true thing of beauty. Guadagnino is, for the lack of a better word, painterly in his direction; Chalamet is the epitome of what they call ‘a natural’; and Hammer is, well…the epitome of a phallic symbol.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  HotNerdLover.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  HotNerdLover.
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    manalemel
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    #1202462628

    Wow…

    Ensorcelled.

    I must have been just outside the vicinity of the enchantment, I guess.

    You know, the impression that I get is that people are just waiting for the right moment to call the book only a necessity BECAUSE it enabled Guadagnino and Chalamet to direct and star in it.

    And by the way, I’d LOVE to pick the brain of every single person who believes Book-Elio is legitimately crazy.  I do, however, agree that at least a part of him would be “picking the petals off of a flower one by one”, except he’d most likely replace that with masturbating all over Oliver’s clothes.  Haha!

    I can’t tell if I’m just a deviant, or if everyone who sees him differently is just more of a prude or has never experienced the incredibly violent anxiety of attraction (I mean, it’s just what I’m interpreting), but it occurs to me that Elio in the book is really seen as almost a clinical head-case as opposed to what I see him as, which I won’t even bother repeating since I’ve done that bit to death already.

    Meh.  It reads to me like everyone’s perfectly content with the safety net the movie presents.  Which is fine.  Just isn’t the book I read, and thus, not the story I fell in love with.

    For all it gets wrong, and for all its tediousness, and for all its neurosis, Aciman’s CMBYN feature an Elio and an Oliver that aren’t just well-lit dancers with a great choreographer…  They’re full-bodied entities that push and pull and confound and embarrass and scare and even turn off the reader.  Elio and Oliver as guided by Guadagnino are basically idealized dream-versions of every positive and negative part of the characters, condensed and settled-in to become as easily digestible and consumable as possible.

    It is, as Guadagnino himself said, his Disney movie.  Except Disney, you know, eventually realized he had to kill Bambi’s mother.  And Simba’s father.  And before even those, he realized Chernabog needed to scare because fear is as much a part of life as Mickey in a wizard’s hat.

    Where are Elio’s demons in this movie?  Where are Oliver’s real fears?  Was I supposed to glimpse them in the five second shot of him looking back at Elio in the train car?  Are Elio’s demons being exorcised by the fireplace in the final three and half-ish minutes of the movie?

    I didn’t see a single progression of character.  I saw only a progression of their want, and in some cases, need.  I saw no inner life, only fragments of movement motivated by the very well-choreographed dance you speak of…

    I’ll take a good fall on the stage any day of the week over synchronicity between two characters that fucking traverse a forest of thorns to finally come to each other.

    But hey, that’s just what I see.  🙂

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    FreemanGriffin
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    #1202462631

    The novel disturbed me and upset me AND I loved it. The novel was tamer and a very different experience. I was most surprised that the literary party in Rome scene was cut from the movie. It was extremely important in the novel; a transition to young adulthood for Elio. Also, the friendship with the 12 year old girl who has cancer between her and Oliver was missing. Elio learning that he was spending time with her, and not as he imagined having sex with all the girls in town, was an interesting development. In fact his friendship with her was very moving for me. I felt the sense of longing was stronger in the novel and the coda where they meet again twice in the future was a very different ending.

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    manalemel
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    #1202462633

    This is the Spotify interview where he briefly talks about the Disney connection, because I don’t want anyone to think I’m just making all this up.  lol

    https://open.spotify.com/episode/4EDSBQVsnzgbq3cAVw9gMS

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    LangeWeaver2
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    #1202462652

    Undoubtedly, the film is an improvement on the novel. Chalamet grounds Elio and gives the character an edge and allure than he lacked in prose. The equivalent of the novel would have been Elio speaking in voice-over in full-on, stream-of-consciousness, fawning over the object of his affection while picking the petals off of a flower one by one. The novel drags and is repetitive when it needn’t be, is what I’m saying. The film, conversely, is a dance. It’s sensual and fumbling and fleeting. A beautiful slow burn that is both languid and kinetic; Elio and Oliver are anticipating and responding to each other’s every move with such palpable interest that we, in turn, do the same. We begin to examine their micro-expressions as intently as they do – now that’s damn good cinema. The novel isn’t bad, by any means. Though there are many tedious stretches, you do get a sense of the deep yearning Elio feels, and its simplicity and depth is, at times, enchanting. But the film, it’s a true thing of beauty. Guadagnino is, for the lack of a better word, painterly in his direction; Chalamet is the epitome of what they call ‘a natural’; and Hammer is, well…the epitome of a phallic symbol.

    I also agree that I didn’t connect with Elio the same way in the novel as I did while watching the movie, and I think that accomplishment belongs to Chalamet and Guadagnino.  Timothee breathes life into Elio through facial expression and body language and is really a nice complement to the book.

    I also found some of the book to be tedious the first time I read it, especially when you’re so deep into Elio’s stream of consciousness.  Surprisingly, though, I’m re-reading this after watching the film and do not have the same opinion of it.  So I think that is a great accomplishment that, at least for parts one and two, the movie made me see the book in a different light.

    I will say, though, that I identify with Elio’s lack of self-esteem in the novel.  But I don’t fault Chalamet’s choices to make him slightly different and seemingly older in the movie.  Still a brilliant performance.

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    MartinR
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    #1202462660

    I rarely read the book before the movie, but because it still is not playing here while I wait frustratingly, I also listened to the audio book on youtube.

    I can’t comment on the movie until I see it but I loved the book very much and my friends who have been able to see the movie in bigger cities loved it and thought it improved on the book.

    I mean it’s the same old thing really……..a book is a book, the movie is the movie………there almost have to be changes, it can’t ever be or should be exactly the same. Some things have to be eliminated. Even scenes were shortened because it originally had another twenty minutes apparently so they pared it down as best they could.

    When I read the book…….and  watched way too many youtubes which will hurt my movie experience for sure……….I absolutely see Chalamet and Hammer as perfect casting. The book has an epilogue that takes place years later. There has been talk of a sequel and that’s what I don’t want to see. Just leave the original alone as wonderful as I keep hearing it is. And for goddsakes even if it can’t win, get that “Mystery of Love” song nominated. At least for sure one thing…..James Ivory at age 90 is going to win the screen adaptation Oscar. Not just for the film but also for the wonderful Merchant-Ivory classics he brought us. As I wait and wait and wait and wait for the movie to get here already.

     

     

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