Call this a 2017 double feature and a drama as well. Two movies that got a lot of recognition and praise at the beginning of this year so its surely two well-matched double feature.
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel
In 1980s Italy, a romance blossoms between a seventeen year-old student and the older man hired as his father’s research assistant. – IMDB
I’ve only ever seen one other movie from Luca Guadagnino earlier this year, A Bigger Splash. I’m going to be honest that this director has a very similar way of approaching stories or maybe its the stories that he chooses and the setting that distinguish it apart because while watching Call Me By Your Name, while the story itself is very different, there is this same feeling that I got as I was watching A Bigger Splash and that was before I realized that these two films were directed by the same person. I can’t say that the story itself is particularly unexpected but what works even better is that the story is made really great because of its cast who delivers some fantastic performances.
What this movie does a great job at doing besides yet again giving us a beautiful Italian setting and the love of filming in waterholes or pools or something or another like this (like in A Bigger Splash), is how Armie Hammer’s Oliver and Timothée Chalamet’s Elio deliver a powerful story about first love. One of the most powerful points here though is that it breaks barriers of how romance no matter what gender is still the same. Its as valid and the same for everyone. Oliver and Elio’s first love might be something they try to hide around the people around them which leads Elio to find also a romantic feeling with Marzia (Esther Garrel) and there he finds something different as well. There is a feeling of exploration and getting in touch with their feelings while also having that uncertainty and vulnerability of not being sure how much to show. There is a lot of depth to this story. It kind of is one of those stories that creeps up on us with every scene that in the end when we get the final moments between Elio and his father who has this incredibly touching speech and that final ending conversation with Elio and Oliver, it just tugs on all kinds of heartstrings.
Its been a while since I’ve seen Call Me By Your Name and yet, there is something so beautiful and so raw about how this whole story is set up and told from the details of the setting to the interactions that make this journey, especially for Elio’s first love that makes it so powerful. So many scenes resound in my mind and the story seems to just linger on.
On that note, I’m not exactly sure I’m into watching a sequel or even where this story can go, especially since that seems to be in the works but we will see, I guess.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
Director (and writer): Martin McDonagh
Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Caleb Landry Jones, Abbie Cornish, Peter Dinklage, John Hawkes, Lucas Hedges
A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit. – IMDB
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a film that I liked a lot. There is a nice mix between drama and dark comedy. Plus, the film is packed with fantastic performances. Between Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand, these three deliver on their characters. The story itself is pretty dark and in some ways, the drama behind it is actually quite heartbreaking to watch in the sense of how the case was treated and the pain of a mother trying to force some justice and action in a desperate way. Call it her way to find closure.
What I like the most about this film is how it is executed. The pacing and the way it is put together works really well. While Woody Harrelson’s character is incredibly dynamic to watch and one that has quite the impactful character where Frances McDormand’s character is more of the dramatic and gritty character, the character that stood out the most to me was Sam Rockwell’s character which had the most layers and growth in this whole story. The heart of the movie lies in these performances and the characters from its many different prejudices towards race, career and other elements. Its these prejudices that create these unnecessary aggression and what causes a lot of these situations that happen. There is a lot to talk about in this film and a lot of depth to the story and its characters which makes it so awesome and one I highly recommend.
Overall, two films that I enjoyed a lot!
Somehow its two that I think the experience of watching it overpowers anything I can say about it.