The Book Was Gayer
Catie Disabato

Call Me By Your Name tried to have it both ways. On the one hand, so much of the gayness was leached out of the story that it was basically a generic coming of age story, with a dash of statutory rape vibe thrown in. (The relationship was legal in Italy because the age of consent is 14 there, or 16 if one of the partners has some kind of influence over the other, but would have been illegal in US states where the age of consent is 18.) On the other hand, the fact that it was about a gay couple made it a Serious Film and thus considered an actual contender for awards like Best Picture, while Lady Bird (an otherwise superior film that didn’t happen to be about gay people) was considered “too lightweight” to be anything beyond ballot filler.

A more true telling of the story of Call Me By Your Name would have been a better film. But it would never have gotten as much financial backing and its screening schedule would have been far more limited; there are large chunks of America where nobody would have dared to show it.