before_dawn’s review published on Letterboxd:
A sensory delight, from the original tracks by Sufjan Stevens, to each food and drink on screen (won't view apricots the same way again), and of course the inebriating chemistry between the two protagonists. (As a side note, Marzia is a gorgeous sight and comforting anchor for Elio amidst the whirlwind).
Like few movies in recent times, and reminiscent of Italian classics, this one left me swept away; at once, uplifted and defenseless, inspired and dispirited.
I watched it twice within 48 hours, and during the 2nd watching turned more critical of Oliver, perhaps seeing some of myself reflected in the quintessentially American self-assurance and the "constraints of maturity". I also paid special attention to Elio's father, at once an idyllic paternal figure and a bittersweet forewarning. Through their eyes, I felt admiration and envy for Elio's youthful beauty and freedom.
Paradoxically, few coming-of-age characters have resonated as strongly with me as Elio, despite the dramatic differences and my relative deprivation of worldly pleasures at the time (no Italian villa here). Instead, the resonance came from the detachment from social norms, the ultra-sensitivity to life, the bursts of confidence and hunger for new experiences, and of course, the endearing awkwardness in clothing, gestures, and all.
The fact that I could intimately connect and be moved by the three contrasting male figures, speaks volumes to how this film can illuminate elements of life and love across cultures and ages. It also reminds me by what was achieved by the trilogy of Before Sunrise, Sunset, and Midnight, where each part honed in on the worldview of each life stage.
*A priceless treasure of film*.