For those who haven’t heard about it, Call Me By Your Name is taking the country--and possibly the Oscars--by storm. The visuals are lush, the love story moving and tender, but most moving of all? The PFLAG parents supporting the story's central character.
In the summer of 1983, in the north of Italy, Elio Perlman, (Timothée Chalamet) a 17- year-old American, spends his days in his family’s 17th century villa lazily transcribing music and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). One day Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old graduate student working on his doctorate arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture. Soon, Elio and Oliver embark on a relationship that will alter their lives forever. For some parents, giving their children the freedom to explore love and intimate feelings is already a challenge. And for parents of LGBTQ youth, there can be an additional layer of emotions.
Call Me By Your Name so beautifully and movingly tackles this sometimes complicated family relationship. The Perlmans, played by actors Stuhlbarg (as the loving dad), and Amira Casar, so deeply love their son, and you can see it in both grand gestures and quiet moments throughout the film. The biggest moment between them, however--and arguably the pinnacle of the film--comes in the form of a monologue delivered by Mr. Perlman to his son at the very end of the film. In it he says,
"You had a beautiful friendship. Maybe more than a friendship. And I envy you. In my place, most parents would hope the whole thing goes away, or pray that their sons land on their feet soon enough. But I am not such a parent. In your place, if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out, don’t be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we’d want to be forgotten is no better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of 30 and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything—what a waste!”
He is the PFLAG dad we all want: PFLAG Northern Italy anyone?
Director Luca Guadadnino was recently asked by the Washington Post whether the relationship between Elio and his father is really the more significant relationship in the film. Guadagnino responded, "Absolutely, yes. Familial bonds are central to this film. This is a movie for families and about family. It’s about the transmission of knowledge, whether through actual conversation or unspoken behavior. In the movie, you see the way the parents cast their gaze upon this boy, the way they welcome Oliver into the house, the way other people come and go without knocking. When Elio starts wearing the Star of David around his neck, as an expression of his Jewishness, you see in the way his mother caresses his neck that she is, without saying anything, saying everything."
And that's how PFLAGers do it: Time and again we hear stories of parents who showed quiet support for their kids that made the difference between them comfortably coming out as opposed to staying quietly hidden away in fear. It is these moments of the film--and in life--that are most moving.
Watch the trailer, and then visit http://gwi.io/h68cg4?gwiCampaign=PFLAG to see the calendar for opening dates. We encourage PFLAGers to organize group outings to the theater, as many theaters will offer discounted tickets to groups that buy in bulk. If you are interested in learning more about bulk tickets to your local theater, please reach out to Claire Cifelli at [email protected].