Call Me by Your Name Book vs. Movie

By: Zuha Jaffar

While I read Harry Potter at a young age, I would watch the movies after I read each book. As a militant fan, I would take my time to notice everything missing from the movies, and each detail left out genuinely hurt. I loved the books too much to watch even the slightest part let go of. However, this isn’t the case for Call Me By Your Name. The whole movie has become something of a mainstream hit, as it was nominated for a few Oscars and even won one. The love story, based on Andre Aciman’s novel, follows Elio and Oliver and takes place during a dream-like Italian summer in the 80s. In this case, I wasn’t so obsessive with finding each difference (and there are quite a few), but was ready to embrace them, as both the movie and book are absolutely gorgeous .


Characters’ Personalities

A small change was that novel Elio is far more neurotic than in the movie. Perhaps reading the book made it much easier to look into his thoughts, in contrast to the actor’s glassy expression. If you read the book, it is easy to know that Elio has a reeling obsessive love for Oliver, however, his intense infatuation isn’t fully captured in the movie.


The Setting

The book is set in a small seaside town, in the village of Bordighera, located in the Northern Italian region of Liguria. The villa where Elio’s family stays is near water, and had a stairway that led to the rocky Mediterranean coast. In the book and movie, Elio and Oliver’s days are equally sun-drenched and lazy. The movie’s director filmed the movie close to his own home in a run-down 17th century villa in Crema, a small town near Milan.


All of of the characters aren’t involved

During the book, Oliver befriends a young girl named Vimini. She is very precocious and not afraid to tell others that she’s dying of Leukemia. Elio describes their friendship, “Never had I seen a friendship so beautiful or more intense.” Her character wasn’t the most important to the main storyline, but it was incredibly heartening. Later on, long after the summer ends, Elio writes to Oliver telling him of Vimini’s death.


The book is essentially written as one long memory

The entire book begins with an older Elio recalling the first thing he noticed about Oliver; his frivolous use of the word “later” and how he constantly used it. Elio looks back on everything twenty years later and reexamines each moment of this summer with great passion and realizes how influential it was. There is one similarity between 17 year-old and the one narrating the story, that they both overthink. We see his obsessiveness for Oliver being even more pronounced.



The novel ends with a reunion between Elio and Oliver, whereas the movie concludes with an elongated shot of Elio’s face after he’s heard the news of Oliver getting married. The book ends way after Oliver is married, as when Elio visits the United States (this is where Oliver is originally from), he drops by one of Oliver’s lectures in New England. They get drinks together and one thing is still clear: that two decades have passed, but they both remember every moment together. ]

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