If you haven’t heard of Hollywood’s latest “it” movie, it’s called “Call Me By Your Name,” and it features prominently a sexual relationship between a teen 17-year-old boy and a 25-year-old man.
At a time when Hollywood is bashing people like Kevin Spacey for such things, it’s odd that Hollywood would hold up a movie like this. Though, as we’ve seen recently, sexual misconduct doesn’t seem to be an actual concern of Hollywood’s. The “#MeToo” movement looks more like just another trend that must be endured.
But Boston Globe writer Cheyenne Montgomery says that the relationship displayed in the movie is portrayed in such a way that it dismisses the abuse beneath it. While critics are calling it an “erotic triumph,” and “a romantic marvel,” Montgomery says that by her experience, the relationship between the boy (Elio) and the man (Oliver) says that the film glorifies a manipulative relationship that could cause lasting damage.
Montgomery says she knows this because she was in one just like it:
As a 15-year-old scholarship student starting at Choate Rosemary Hall in 1989, I liked to think of myself as an autonomous adult. But like Elio, sprawling across his parents’ laps on a rainy afternoon, I was not.
That first year at Choate, I met Angus Mairs, my math teacher and dorm adviser. We all went to Mr. Mairs for math help, but somehow “math help” turned into personal discussions. Mr. Mairs pried and probed into my personal details until I revealed to him that a family member had sexually abused me throughout my childhood. Instead of making a prompt report to Child Welfare, Mr. Mairs used that information to pose as my protector and savior.
Over and over, he would ask me, “What are you thinking about?” It might seem like an innocent question, but it wasn’t. He wanted access to my most personal thoughts and feelings — and if I wanted his approval, I had to hand them over.
Montgomery says she was bothered when the exact same kind of thing was demonstrated between Elio and Oliver in the movie. At one point in the movie, Oliver asks Elio what he’s thinking about, to which Elio says “it’s private.” Oliver withdraws his approval, says he’s going to go hang out with someone else and walks away.
Continuing her own story, the 16-year-old Montgomery wanted Mairs’ approval and worked for it. Soon he was writing her “love letters,” and their relationship culminated in a camping trip where Mairs took her virginity:
Later that night, I lost my virginity. When I crawled out of the tent the next morning, I looked at my legs and my arms. My skin, the moles on my legs, the hair on my arms, all looked the same, but somehow none of it felt like mine anymore. I told myself over and over that I was in complete control. That this was a choice that I was making. This was a story I held onto fiercely – even long after I had severed all ties with Mr. Mairs.
In actuality, like Elio, I was a lonely teenager who desperately wanted approval. Also like Elio, an adult who should have been a role model instead took me as a lover.
Montgomery exposes the plot of “Call Me By Your Name” as pure fantasy, not because it’s a fictional story, but because the film portrays the relationship as consequence-free. In reality, the consequences are monumental.
“It left me shattered. For years I lived with intense shame, believing I was a bad person,” said Montgomery.
The film ends with Oliver calling Elio and telling him he’s getting married. Oliver goes on with his life, while Elio is seen crying at the end.
“[Oliver’s] life continues without consequence. But as experts on this type of abuse will tell you, Elio is at the very beginning of a long struggle with the misery and the challenges that survivors inevitably face,” said Montgomery. “A real-life Elio would most likely suffer from depression and perhaps even become suicidal.”
Montgomery says the film is dangerous, especially to younger gays and lesbians, as it normalizes sexual predation.
(h/t: Daily Wire)