Understanding the Symbolism in Call Me By Your Name: What Does Call Me By Your Name Symbolize?

Call Me By Your Name is not a typical coming-of-age story. It’s a tale of a summer love affair between a 17-year-old boy named Elio and a 24-year-old man named Oliver. But it’s more than just a story of first love. The film beautifully depicts the complexity of human relationships, the fragility of emotions, and the bittersweet nature of life. Call Me By Your Name is a stunning piece of cinema that has captured the heart of millions of movie-goers around the world.

At the core of the film is the idea of self-discovery and acceptance. Elio learns to embrace his sexuality and desires, while Oliver comes to terms with his own fears and insecurities. Through their relationship, the film explores themes of identity, intimacy, and vulnerability. The symbolism used in the movie is powerful and thought-provoking, with the peach being a recurring motif that has left many viewers puzzled. What does it mean? What does Call Me By Your Name symbolize? That’s what we will delve into in this article.

As someone who has seen the movie more times than I can count, I believe that Call Me By Your Name is a masterpiece that deserves to be analyzed and understood. The heartache, joy, and nostalgia that the film evokes are so visceral that it’s hard not to be moved by it. It’s a story about the beauty of life, but also its transience. It’s about the bittersweet memories that we hold onto and the pain of letting go. Call Me By Your Name is a gem that shines brighter with every viewing.

The Peach as a Symbol of Desire

In the novel turned movie, Call Me By Your Name, the peach is used as a powerful symbol of desire. The fruit is associated with Elio’s sexual awakening and his love affair with Oliver. Here’s what the peach represents in the story:

  • Sexual desire: The peach is seen as a metaphor for sexuality, and Elio’s relationship with Oliver in particular. In one of the most memorable scenes from the movie, Elio uses a peach as a makeshift masturbatory aid after he and Oliver have been intimate. This moment highlights Elio’s intense longing for Oliver and the power of sexual desire.
  • Forbidden love: The peach can also be seen as a symbol of the forbidden love between Elio and Oliver. The fruit is closely associated with Elio’s sexual awakening, and it represents the risks that he is willing to take to be with Oliver. The peach is a reminder that their love is not accepted by society and that they must keep their relationship a secret.
  • Vulnerability: Finally, the peach is also a symbol of vulnerability. When Elio gives Oliver a peach and tells him to eat it, he is expressing his feelings for Oliver in a way that he cannot do directly. The peach is a gesture of love and vulnerability, and it represents Elio’s willingness to open up and take risks for the sake of his feelings.

Overall, the peach is a powerful and multi-faceted symbol in Call Me By Your Name. It represents sexual desire, forbidden love, and vulnerability, all of which are key themes in the story. The use of this symbol is just one of the many reasons why this novel and film have become so beloved and iconic.

The Use of Water Imagery

Water imagery is a significant motif in the film adaptation of “Call Me By Your Name.” Throughout the movie, water is used in various ways to represent various aspects of the relationships and emotions of the characters.

The film is set during the summer in Italy, and the characters are constantly surrounded by water. They swim in the nearby lake, shower under outdoor faucets, and bathe in the pool. Water is used to illustrate themes of desire, release, and emotional intensity.

  • The Lake: The lake serves as a recurring symbol for different moments in the story. For example, when Elio and Oliver first explore the small town, they stop at the water’s edge. Later, when Elio experiences his first sensual encounter with Oliver, they swim in the lake, and Elio’s release of emotion is represented by the water’s movement.
  • The Pool: The pool is also utilized to symbolize intimacy. It is a private space, where Elio and Oliver can be alone with one another, without the watchful eye of others. Additionally, the pool represents the characters’ innocence and youthfulness. They swim and play games, enjoying one another’s company in a carefree manner.
  • The Shower: The outdoor shower is frequently used in the film and is the site of some pivotal moments between the characters. For example, when Elio is struggling to manage his feelings, he uses the shower as a private space to release his emotions.

Furthermore, water is often used in the film to represent the characters’ emotional states. For example, when Elio is feeling overwhelmed, he dives into the lake, allowing the water to embrace him. Conversely, when he is feeling sad, he often sits in silence next to the pool. Water symbolizes his shifting emotions as he navigates his relationship with Oliver.

Water Imagery Symbolism
The Lake Desire, Release, Emotion
The Pool Intimacy, Innocence, Youthfulness
The Shower Emotional Release, Private Space

The use of water imagery in “Call Me By Your Name” demonstrates how the film employs visual elements to convey emotions and themes. It provides an additional dimension to the story, allowing viewers to experience the characters’ feelings through symbolism and metaphors.

Elio’s Internal Conflict

Elio’s internal conflict in the movie “Call Me By Your Name” is interpreted in different ways by viewers. Some interpret it as a conflict between his sexual identity and societal expectations, while others see it as a result of his fear of vulnerability and rejection.

The Three Elements of Elio’s Internal Conflict

  • The Fear of Vulnerability: Elio is reluctant to engage in a romantic relationship with Oliver because he is afraid to expose his vulnerability. He is hesitant to reveal his feelings and desires because he fears rejection and humiliation.
  • The Power of Love: Elio’s internal conflict is also influenced by his intense feelings of love for Oliver. He is confused and conflicted by his emotions, which are in contrast to his societal expectations and his previous experiences with girls.
  • The Challenge of Identity: Elio is conflicted between his sexual identity and societal expectations. He is aware of his attraction to Oliver but remains uncertain about his sexual preferences. He struggles to reconcile his desires with his internal conflicts and societal expectations.

Elio’s Journey to Self-Discovery

Elio’s internal conflict is not resolved until the end of the movie when he confronts his emotions and confesses his love for Oliver. His journey to self-discovery involves accepting his vulnerabilities, exploring his feelings and desires, and ultimately, challenging societal norms and expectations.

Elio’s internal conflict is a universal theme that resonates with many viewers. It represents the struggle for self-discovery and the journey to understanding oneself. The movie reminds us that internal conflict is a natural part of growth and development, and that confronting our fears and vulnerabilities is essential for personal growth.

The significance of the book’s title

“Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.” This line, uttered by the protagonist of the novel, Elio, to his lover, Oliver, is the book’s most famous and memorable quote. But what does the title really signify? Here, we explore the different facets of the book’s title and what it means to the story.

  • Embodiment of intimacy: The act of calling someone by their name is one of the most intimate gestures someone can make. It signifies a level of familiarity and emotional closeness that is only shared by a select few. By asking to be called by each other’s name, Elio and Oliver are essentially asking each other to share a piece of themselves, merging their identities together in a very visceral way.
  • Exploration of identity: The book’s title also plays on the theme of identity, with the characters constantly questioning who they are and who they want to become. By adopting each other’s names, Elio and Oliver blur the lines between their individual identities, leading to a further exploration of the self. The title symbolizes the fluidity of human identity, and the potential for growth and change through emotional bonds.
  • Breaking down barriers: Another layer to the title’s meaning is its ability to break down societal barriers. In a world where same-sex relationships are often stigmatized, the act of calling someone by their name regardless of gender, becomes a statement of defiance and acceptance. The book’s title reinforces the idea that love and connection should not be limited by societal norms, and that emotional bonds can exist and thrive regardless of gender.

In essence, the title “Call me by your name” encapsulates the overarching theme of the book – the beauty and complexity of human connection. It represents the power of language, emotion, and intimacy to shape our identities and bring us closer together. With its subtle yet powerful meaning, the title is a fitting tribute to the story’s message, one that will resonate with readers for years to come.


Aciman, A. (2007). Call me by your name. Picador.

Author Year Title Publisher
Aciman, A. 2007 Call me by your name Picador

The Portrayal of Sexuality

“Call Me By Your Name” is a beautifully nuanced film that depicts sexuality in a way that is both sensual and raw. The movie explores various aspects of sexuality, including desire, attraction, and sexual awakening. One of the most striking aspects of the film’s portrayal of sexuality is its exploration of the emotional complexity and vulnerability that come with sexual experience.

  • The film portrays sexuality as a deeply intimate and personal experience, emphasizing the importance of emotional connection and trust between partners. This is illustrated in the relationship between Elio and Oliver, as they navigate the emotional terrain of their attraction and desire for each other.
  • The film portrays sexuality as a natural and beautiful aspect of human experience. It celebrates sexual desire and attraction as a powerful force that brings people together and creates deep connections.
  • The film also portrays the confusion and uncertainty that often comes with sexual awakening. Elio struggles to understand his attraction to Oliver and his own sexual identity, highlighting the difficulties and challenges of navigating one’s sexuality.

Additionally, the film is notable for the way it shows sexuality as a fluid and evolving concept, with characters experiencing varying levels of attraction and desire throughout the film. This fluidity is particularly evident in Elio’s relationship with Oliver, which shifts and evolves over time as they explore their feelings for each other.

The film’s portrayal of sexuality is further enhanced by its stunning cinematography and evocative use of music. The camera lingers on the beauty of the Italian countryside and the sensual allure of the characters, creating a seductive atmosphere that draws the viewer into the emotional world of the film. Similarly, the use of classical music and original songs by Sufjan Stevens provide an elegant and stirring accompaniment to the film’s exploration of desire and intimacy.

Aspect of Sexuality How it’s Portrayed in “Call Me By Your Name”
Attraction The film celebrates the power of attraction as a force that brings people together and creates deep connections.
Desire The film portrays desire as a beautiful and natural aspect of human experience, emphasizing the importance of emotional connection and trust between partners.
Sexual Awakening Elio’s struggles with understanding his own sexuality highlight the challenges and difficulties of navigating this aspect of human experience.
Fluidity The film portrays sexuality as a fluid and evolving concept, with characters experiencing varying levels of attraction and desire throughout the film.

Overall, “Call Me By Your Name” portrays sexuality in a way that is both sensitive and honest, highlighting the beauty and complexity of this essential aspect of human experience.

The theme of self-discovery

Call Me By Your Name is a coming-of-age story about a 17-year-old boy named Elio who falls in love with a graduate student named Oliver. Throughout the film, the theme of self-discovery is explored, as Elio navigates his sexuality and his feelings for Oliver. One of the key symbols used to represent this theme is the number 6.

  • The number 6 appears multiple times throughout the movie, including on Elio’s shirt, as the number of weeks Oliver will be staying with Elio’s family, and as the number of weeks Elio and Oliver spend together.
  • In numerology, the number 6 is associated with balance, harmony, and love. This can be seen in the relationship between Elio and Oliver, as they find balance and harmony in their love for each other.
  • The number 6 is also connected to the idea of completion and perfection. As Elio explores his feelings for Oliver, he begins to feel more complete and whole.

Overall, the use of the number 6 in Call Me By Your Name helps to convey the theme of self-discovery and the journey toward finding balance, harmony, and completeness in oneself.

As Elio comes to terms with his sexuality and his feelings for Oliver, he begins to embrace his true self and find a sense of peace and happiness. The number 6 serves as a reminder of this journey, and the importance of self-discovery and acceptance.

Symbolism of the number 6 in Call Me By Your Name
Represents balance, harmony, and love
Connected to the idea of completion and perfection
Symbolizes the journey toward self-discovery and acceptance

The theme of self-discovery is a central element of Call Me By Your Name, and the use of the number 6 is just one example of the film’s rich symbolism.

The Role of Music in the Film

Call Me By Your Name is a film that masterfully uses music to enhance its storytelling. The director, Luca Guadagnino, carefully crafted the soundtrack to evoke the emotions and experiences of the characters in the film. One can see how music plays a significant role in the movie from the various musical motifs used throughout the film.

  • The use of Bach’s music: One of the most apparent examples is the film’s use of the prelude from “Allemande” of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major. The piece’s melody is played multiple times throughout the film, often signaling moments of tranquility, introspection or even melancholy. The music pays homage to Oliver’s intellectual side, as he is a fan of Bach and plays the song on piano. It’s also symbolic of the fleeting nature of love that the film explores.
  • The importance of Sufjan Stevens: Another critical composer for the film is Sufjan Stevens. He wrote two original songs for the film: “Visions of Gideon” and “Mystery of Love.” The former signifies the culmination of Elio’s inner turmoil, marking the climax of sadness and acceptance. Meanwhile, the latter is playing during the scene where Elio and Oliver cycle through the countryside, a moment of pure euphoria and joy.
  • The use of ’80s pop: The film’s backdrop is in the summer of 1983, and the music played in the background echoes that era. The film features songs from The Psychedelic Furs, Giorgio Moroder, and Franco Battiato, among others. The soundtrack complements the movie’s time and place, as well as highlighting Elio’s youth and sense of discovery.

The music in the film also mirrors the characters’ inner turmoil and the progression of their relationship. One can see how the atmosphere of the music changes, depending on the stage of their relationship. The songs begin with easy listening and upbeat music to foreshadow the fun and exciting summer they will have. As the two form a deep connection and eventually fall in love, the music becomes more heartfelt and emotional, with soft piano melodies taking the spotlight, as well as romantic ballads with poetic lyrics.

Bach’s Prelude of Allemande from Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major Sufjan Steven’s “Visions of Gideon” Sufjan Steven’s “Mystery of Love”
Bach's Prelude of Allemande from Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major Sufjan Steven's Visions of Gideon Sufjan Steven's Mystery of Love

In conclusion, the music in Call Me By Your Name serves as a character in itself. The carefully selected pieces establish a mood that enhances the film’s storytelling, supplementing the emotions of the characters, and enriching their journey. Luca Guadagnino’s use of music in the film adds depth and authenticity to the love story of Elio and Oliver and makes it a vital component of the Call Me By Your Name experience.

The Use of Colors and Visuals in Storytelling

The Significance of Number 8 in “Call Me By Your Name”

The number 8 plays a significant role in the symbolism of “Call Me By Your Name.” Throughout the movie, there are multiple references to the number 8, including:

  • The movie takes place in the summer of 1983, which is 8 years after the release of the novel “Call Me By Your Name” by Andre Aciman.
  • There are numerous scenes in the movie that take place on the 8th of the month, which is a nod to the novel’s opening line: “Later!” The word “later” appears on the 8th page of the book.
  • Oliver’s Star of David necklace has eight points, which represent the eight days of Hanukkah.
  • The final shot of the movie is a close-up on Elio’s face, which is reflected in a mirror that is divided into eight sections.

So, what does the number 8 symbolize in “Call Me By Your Name?” Some interpretations suggest that it represents eternity, infinity, and the cyclical nature of time. In the context of the movie, it could represent the eternal and unending nature of Elio and Oliver’s love for each other, as well as the cyclical nature of their relationship (since they only have one summer together, but their love will last forever).

Symbolic Meanings of the Number 8 How it Relates to “Call Me By Your Name”
Eternity Represents the idea that Elio and Oliver’s love will last forever, even if they only have one summer together.
Infinity Represents the idea that Elio and Oliver’s love is infinite and knows no bounds.
Cyclical Nature of Time Represents the idea that while Elio and Oliver’s relationship may end, their love for each other will always exist and will come back around.

Overall, the use of the number 8 in “Call Me By Your Name” adds another layer of symbolism to the already rich and complex story of Elio and Oliver’s love. It represents the eternal nature of their love and the cyclical nature of time, both of which are central themes in the movie.

The setting as a metaphor for the characters’ emotional states

The setting in Call Me By Your Name serves as a powerful metaphor for the emotional states of its characters. The film is set in northern Italy during the summer of 1983. It is a time of endless days, carefree lounging by the pool, and an overall sense of idleness. Amidst this backdrop, the two protagonists, Elio and Oliver, navigate their burgeoning love affair.

  • Elio – In the opening scenes, the camera lingers on the beautiful Italian countryside, and its abundance of ripe fruit. Elio too, is like a fruit ripening too fast. He is precocious and intelligent, but his emotions are also felt deeply and intensely. The endless summer days mirror his own sense of longing and ennui.
  • Oliver – On the other hand, Oliver is like a force of nature sweeping through the landscape. He is brash and confident, unapologetic in his sensuality. However, as the film progresses, it becomes clear that Oliver is also hiding something, his true feelings perhaps. His character is represented by the villa’s lush garden, which hides secrets and surprises.
  • The villa – Finally, the villa itself represents the characters’ emotional states. It is a place of faded grandeur, of decadence and luxury. However, it is also a place of secrets. The walls are adorned with paintings symbolising death, decay, and the ephemeral nature of beauty. The villa, like the characters, is a vestige of a bygone era, one that is slowly fading away.

The film’s breathtaking cinematography is used to depict these themes. The camera often lingers on the scenery, almost as if taking a pause. It is as if the film itself is allowing the characters to fully experience their emotions, and to bask in the ephemeral beauty of their love. By doing so, the film allows the audience a moment of reprieve, to pause and re-examine their own experiences of love and loss.

The number 9

The number 9 is another potent symbol in the film. Elio’s favourite spot in the villa is the ancient stone sundial, which is labelled with the number 9. It is a spot where time itself seems to stand still. The number 9 also correlates to the film’s themes of nostalgia, loss, and the passage of time.

Numerologically, the number 9 also represents endings and new beginnings. It is a number associated with spiritual enlightenment and the attainment of wisdom. In essence, the number 9 represents the completion of a cycle, and the ability to let go of the past in order to embrace the present. Elio and Oliver’s summer romance is both a celebration of the present, and an acknowledgement of the fleeting nature of time.

Astrological symbol Numerological interpretation
Sun Elio’s youth and passion
Waning moon Oliver’s hidden emotional states
Pluto The transformative power of love

Call Me By Your Name is a film that is rich in metaphors and symbolism. By using the setting, the number 9, and astrological symbols, the film deftly explores themes of love, loss, and the passage of time. The film is not just a story of a summer romance but a meditation on the beauty of life itself.

The Impact of Oliver and Elio’s Age Difference on the Story

The age difference between Oliver and Elio is a crucial aspect of the story in Call Me By Your Name. While Elio is only 17 years old, Oliver is a 24-year-old graduate student who is staying at Elio’s family’s villa for the summer. This 7-year age gap between the two characters raises questions about the legality and ethics of their romantic relationship, as well as the power dynamics between them.

  • Legal and Ethical Questions
  • Due to Elio’s age, their relationship could be seen as illegal or inappropriate. Oliver is in a position of authority as an older and more experienced individual, which could further complicate things. However, it is also important to note that the age of consent in Italy is 14, although some would consider this too young.

  • Power Dynamics
  • The age difference between Oliver and Elio also creates significant power dynamics in their relationship. Oliver is older and more experienced and has the power to shape the course of their romance. Elio, on the other hand, is still a teenager and lacks the maturity and life experience of Oliver. This power dynamic is often brought to the forefront, with Oliver constantly testing the boundaries of their relationship while Elio yearns for more control.

  • The Role of Time
  • Time plays a significant role in the story as well. Elio is at the cusp of adulthood, and Oliver’s arrival prompts him to confront his sexuality and desires. Even though Oliver will eventually leave, the time they spend together is a formative moment for Elio. The film explores the idea that the time we spend with people, no matter how brief, can change us forever.

Overall, the age difference between Oliver and Elio serves as a catalyst for many of the events in the story. It creates tension and power dynamics between the two characters while also highlighting the role of time in shaping our lives.

Pros of the Age Difference Cons of the Age Difference
Oliver has more experience and can guide Elio in many aspects of life. The power dynamic between them can be problematic.
Elio gains new experiences and a better understanding of himself and his desires. The age gap raises ethical and legal questions.
Oliver and Elio’s relationship shows that age shouldn’t determine who we love. Their relationship could be seen as taboo or inappropriate.

The age difference between Oliver and Elio in Call Me By Your Name explores many complex themes and raises important questions about power dynamics, ethics, and the role of time in our lives. Despite the controversies it may stir, the movie has given voice to the experiences of those who have gone through similar situations and has provided a new perspective on the universal themes of love and desire in the human experience.

What Does Call Me By Your Name Symbolize?

1) What’s the main plot of Call Me By Your Name?
Call Me By Your Name is an Oscar-winning coming-of-age romantic drama film based on the novel of the same name by André Aciman. Set in the mid-1980s, the story revolves around Elio Perlman, a 17-year-old Jewish Italian boy, who falls in love with Oliver, a 24-year-old American doctoral student, who is working as an intern for Elio’s father.

2) What does the peach scene symbolize?
The infamous peach scene in the movie is a metaphor for self-discovery and sensual exploration. The scene represents Elio’s sexual awakening and his willingness to experiment with his desires.

3) What does the title mean?
The title, Call Me By Your Name, is a reference to the intimate bond between Elio and Oliver. They are so close that they can refer to each other by their own names without any implication of ownership.

4) What does the statue symbolize?
One of the most poignant moments in the movie is when Elio’s father shows him a statue of a Hellenistic torso, which symbolizes the fleeting nature of romantic love and the inevitability of heartbreak.

5) What does the setting symbolize?
The setting of the film, a picturesque summer villa in Northern Italy, is a metaphor for a fleeting moment of happiness that can never be recaptured. As the summer winds down and Oliver’s departure becomes imminent, Elio is forced to confront the reality of their relationship.

6) What does the music symbolize?
The romantic and melancholy soundtrack of the film, which features classical music and songs by artists such as Sufjan Stevens, represents the emotional depth and intensity of Elio’s love for Oliver.

7) What does the end credits scene symbolize?
The final shot of the film, which shows Elio crying in front of the fireplace, is a reminder that love is both beautiful and painful. It symbolizes the bittersweet nature of first love and how it can leave an indelible mark on the heart.

Closing Thoughts: Thanks for Exploring Call Me By Your Name Symbolism with Us!

We hope that this article has helped you gain a deeper understanding of the rich symbolism and emotional depth that makes Call Me By Your Name such a poignant and unforgettable film. From the peach scene to the end credits, each moment builds towards a tender and heartbreaking portrait of first love. Thank you for reading, and we hope to see you again soon as we explore more fascinating topics together.