Regarding The “Call Me By Your Name” Age Gap
So the LGBTQ romance Call Me By Your Name is shaping up to be a major awards contender and at a recent screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, it received a rapturous standing ovation once the film ended. It also has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So, it looks to have the right stuff with its critical and audience support.
But I wanted to take the time to discuss something that I am sure is going to be a subject of controversy as the season progresses. When reading think pieces from awards prognosticators like Scott Feinberg from The Hollywood Reporter, they acknowledge their skepticism over just how strong the film will play due to the age gap between the two main characters. The main character, Elio (Timothee Chalamet) who is 17 years old falls for Oliver (Armie Hammer) who is 24. Even though there is only a 9-year age difference between Chalamet and Hammer, the main relationship might still be a turn off for some Academy voters.
Now, I do get that there is a slight age gap between the two main actors and even though Timothee Chalamet is only 21, he’s playing somebody who is 17 and appears younger than he actually is. However, I do feel that as people potentially express their uncomfortable feelings towards the same-sex relationship here, nobody says anything about how as male movie stars get older, their female co-stars stay young.
Back in 2013, Kyle Buchanan from Vulture composed a series of flow charts, including the ones above, pointing out the major age gaps between aging male movie stars and their female counterparts ranging from Liam Neeson being paired with January Jones in Unknown despite a 25-year old age difference to Johnny Depp having Bella Heathcote as his love interest in Dark Shadows despite a 24-year age difference.
However, when the trailer for mother! first dropped, it did become a subject of controversy due to the main relationship between Jennifer Lawrence, 27, and Javier Bardem, 48. Something director Darren Aronofsky clarified when promoting the film at Venice, saying it was intentional and “they address it face-on.” But because people are being vocal about it, maybe they’ll start to be more vocal about the egregious age gaps between on-screen opposite-sex couples taking place.
Although, I do think that if people are not angered over the ongoing age difference between male and female stars, then they shouldn’t throw knives over the same-sex relationship between Call Me By Your Name because it demonstrates a rather egregious double standard. If people aren’t uncomfortable with an at least 20 year old age gap between someone like Johnny Depp and whichever female he’s paired with, then they shouldn’t be uncomfortable with a 9-year age gap between two males.
As somebody who is very excited for the film and has read the book, I would hate to see it falter during awards season over something like this. I’d hate to see a film that depicts a loving relationship, and one that isn’t predatory despite one half of the couple being a teenager, get crucified over a slight age difference.
Again, I don’t like this mentality that a film depicting a same sex relationship between a 17-year old and a 24-year old is viewed as predatory yet it’s perfectly fine for say, 55-year old Tom Cruise to get paired up with 33-year old Annabelle Wallis in The Mummy.
In closing, I just want to say that there are other films that are more deserving of controversy than this one which doesn’t deserve any controversy to begin with. Call Me By Your Name is just a coming of age story depicting two men falling in love. Go throw your knives somewhere else.
Please be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!
Regarding The “Call Me By Your Name” Age Gap was originally published in The Film Scoop on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.