The first Call Me by Your Name movie was, in a word, perfect. Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer broke hearts around the world as Elio and Oliver, and it brought to life a love story that’s really special to a lot of people. Last week, it was reported that the movie that made my tear ducts erupt is getting a sequel.
That’s literally the only good news I’ve heard in the past month, but there’s a problem. Fans of the first book and movie didn’t love Find Me, the sequel, nor did literary critics. So if the movie’s going to be based on that, there are going to have to be some major changes (in my humble opinion) for it to work. Here are some things I’d like to suggest, for free, to the people making this movie.
[There are spoilers ahead for Find Me.]
The part about Elio’s dad should be cut down.
Find Me is divided into three parts, and the first chunk (which is pretty long) is about Elio’s dad, Mr. Perlman (who is now divorced from Elio’s mom). He meets a much younger woman on a train to Rome, and they end up (1) having a lot of sex and (2) getting married. Something about it feels really predatory, especially knowing André Aciman wrote it after he himself was sitting on a train and noticed a beautiful young girl across from him, and as soon as she got off at her stop, he started writing.
Michael Stuhlbarg was lovely in the first film as the smart and sensitive professor/dad. The problem, though, is that that part of the book would take WAY too long in a movie equivalent. And if you’re making a movie with Timothée and Armie, you want the movie to be about their characters. Give the people what they want!!
They need to readjust the Elio portion.
In the Elio section of the book, he’s in his 30s. In what world is anyone going to believe Timothée, who, as a reminder, looks like this…
…is a day over 24. They’re either going to have to do some makeup magic here or change his portion of the book. That’s above my pay grade. He also has a relationship with an older man in his portion, which is something I have no interest in seeing!
We need to see more of Oliver, in general.
I’m not sure how the actual page counts are divvied up here, but the Oliver portion definitely feels the shortest. If we’re translating that to movie minutes, that’s way too little Armie on my screen. That would truly be a travesty. Also, he’s much older in the book too. I’m just saying it would be a shame to take these two very attractive young men and age them up. What Is The Point?
There’s a huge chunk of the story that feels like it’s missing.
In Find Me, Elio makes the choice to look up Oliver in New York. The next time we see them together, they’re a full-blown couple, and that’s how the book ends. It’s literally the last 12 pages. I’m not kidding.
I need to see what happens between those two things! I want to see Oliver tearfully separating from his wife! I want to see all the awkwardness of Elio googling Oliver and trying to find his address or whatever. I want the drama! That could be a huge chunk of the movie, if the filmmakers wanted it to be.
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