But the thing that really reduced me to tears came near the end of the movie. Timothee Chalamet who plays Elio is nursing a heartbreak because Oliver needed to go home. Their time was over. Nothing bad happened, but as we all know, summers end. That's just the way of things, and it was no different in 1983, which is the setting for this movie. But Elio's father finishes this movie with a very moving monologue. In fact, it's incredible. His father, without making assumptions and without making Elio uncomfortable and without overstepping bounds, tells Elio that he noticed the beautiful connection that Oliver and Elio had. He makes it clear that he accepts it, and that he's a little jealous that he never experienced anything like it in his own life. "There were always barriers," he admits to his son. And then he says this:
"You had a beautiful friendship. Maybe more than a friendship. And I envy you. In my place, most parents would hope the whole thing goes away, or pray that their sons land on their feet soon enough. But I am not such a parent. In your place, if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don't snuff it out, don't be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we'd want to be forgotten is no better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of 30 and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything--what a waste! Forgive me if I have spoken out of turn. I will have been a terrible father if, one day, you'd want to speak to me and felt the door was shut, or not sufficiently open."
I was deeply moved by this movie. I needed it in fact. And this poses a problem for me because there are still five movies that I haven't seen that have received the Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards. But I want this one to win. I want Timothee Chalemet to win Best Actor because he portrays an awkward teenage boy so well. I may never have lived the kind of fire that is portrayed in this story, but I certainly empathized with it. That there are such beautiful things in this world is the reason why we have poetry and art. For without those disciplines how could we possibly put into expression the poignancy of two hearts that can never be, yet still they dance around and with each other because the present is the only time that matters.