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Review: 'Call Me By Your Name'

NOEL KING, HOST:

The film "Call Me By Your Name" is a coming-of-age story set in the early 1980s about two young American men who fall in love one summer in Italy.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CALL ME BY YOUR NAME")

TIMOTHEE CHALAMET: (As Elio) I can show you around.

ARMIE HAMMER: (As Oliver) That'd be great. Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HAMMER: (As Oliver) So what do you do around here?

CHALAMET: (As Elio) Read books, transcribe music, swim at the river, go out at night.

HAMMER: (As Oliver) Sounds fun. All right, later.

KING: A graduate student played by the actor Armie Hammer falls for his professor's teenage son.

April Wolfe is lead film critic at LA Weekly, and she joins us from NPR West. Hey, April.

APRIL WOLFE: Hi, there. Hi, Noel.

KING: Critics really love this movie, including you...

WOLFE: Yes.

KING: ...Judging by your review. What is the big deal?

WOLFE: This film does romance and a re-creation of falling in love so well that I couldn't help but fall for it. One of the things that I love is this dialogue back and forth of these two men who - they tease one another. And it's sweet. And it feels almost as though we can see their brains kind of syncing in the same way that their bodies are. And to me, that's real love. And a lot of directors, they don't quite know how to portray that on screen.

KING: There is an interesting age difference between the two young men who fall in love. Oliver, the graduate student, is 24. The boy who falls in love with him is 17. What do you think, given the times we're in?

WOLFE: You know, I was uneasy with this for a moment. But it feels like it's presented very differently because it is set in Italy. The age of consent there is 14, and they seem to treat these teenagers as adults who are making their own decisions, who are on their own. From an American lens, it is still a little bit uneasy for me. But at the same time, these two characters, they are both very intelligent. And sometimes the idea of age would just kind of vanish from my head as I was watching it.

KING: So this is a movie that brings to mind some other love stories, like last year's "Moonlight" or "Brokeback Mountain," for example. How does this film feel different from those?

WOLFE: Honestly, I have to say this one feels more like a classic film. Luca Guadagnino, the director, is so good at directing not just what you see and hear but how you feel things, how you smell things. The whole orchard that these characters live in - you know, you feel as though you can smell these peaches and stone fruits that are growing on the property.

KING: That sounds extraordinary. April Wolfe is lead film critic at LA Weekly.

April, thanks for coming in.

WOLFE: Thank you so much.

(SOUNDBITE OF SUFJAN STEVENS SONG, "MYSTERY OF LOVE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.