Thursday, May 10, 2018

Call Me By Your Name's Timothée Chalamet -- Updated

Here I post notes about Timothée Chalamet, whose work in Call Me By Your Name earned him accolades and honors around the world. These are not fandom ravings but rather random musings about this exceptional young man's craft.

*A Chalamet / Glover pairing for Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen or Othello, Beckett's Godot or Parks' Topdog/Underdog would be singularly epic.

*2018 promises to be an even bigger year for Young Mr. Chalamet. Along with Beautiful Boy and Woody Allen's joint there's Hot Summer Nights (TC does Breaking Bad?) I didn't know this number was in the mix.


*In Pamela Romanowsky's The Adderall Diaries (2015), Chalamet was cast as the teenage son of an abusive father (Ed Harris), who grows up to be a drug-addicted and self-destructive author (James Franco). Chalamet appears in flashes of memory, recoiling from his father's temper, self-injuring and retaliating against abandonment. It's a demanding role even though it does not carry a narrative arc, and, once again, he demonstrates his readiness and willingness to commit to a challenging part.

*Chalamet's performance in Miss Stevens (2016) was hauntingly nuanced, even though it contained some histrionics ( His character, the boundaries-challenged Billy, was both endearing and unnerving, walking that line between comforter and creep. For an actor so young to be able to negotiate such difficult emotional territory is quite extraordinary. 

*The mystery of Chalamet's attractiveness will probably never be solved to everyone's satisfaction -- if the attempt were to be made -- but it has occurred to me that in some photographs he bears a striking resemblance to Liz Taylor. Taylor's appeal, of course, is legendary, but Chalamet's allure is not entirely in bone structure and facial symmetry. From where I'm sitting, it's in his mien, manner and intellect, as well.

*In interviews, Chalamet has included Joaquin Phoenix among the actors he admires most. I can certainly see the affinity, if it's based on body of work. Phoenix picks idiosyncratic roles; he seems to thrive on the serious challenges. His characters are often taciturn, brutalized men who glower. One recent exception was his pained loner / romantic in Her. Frivolous and Joaquin Phoenix do not occupy the same space.  I'm confident the same will be said about Timothée Chalamet in time.

*Chalamet should have won the Oscar because he was in nearly every scene of Call Me By Your Name, speaks three languages in it, plays Bach, covers everything from diffidence to passion, holds audiences in their seats without saying a word, and Frank Ocean thinks he rocks.

*I've heard Chalamet in a dozen interviews and think he's got one of the nimblest, most sagacious minds of any 22-year-old I've ever come across. And I've been teaching them for 25 years. He's unaffected and engaging, a real joy to watch.

*He will be one of the most consequential persons in cinema sooner rather than later. Aside from his outstanding screen work, in interviews he is focused, incisive and generous. If he avoids predators, Chalamet will be the Paul Newman of his generation, for real.

*Having seen CMBYN a couple dozen times since January -- alone and with friends -- I feel the film itself, due in no small part to his leading role, stands up remarkably under close scrutiny. It is scrupulously composed (I've created another posting for those thoughts) and thoroughgoing. Just remarkable in its presentation and affect. It is masterful and will endure.

*As a friend said to me after a screening, it takes real immersion into a role to enable an actor to alter their appearance so dramatically and to such powerful effect as Chalamet does in the course of the picture.

*The film societies decide who gets hardware, not how enriching the work was. Often the two are the same, not always. Challenging, stimulating work (whether film or performance) will always be prized by those who were touched, enlivened. And that's not bad. Not bad.

*I'm intrigued by Chalamet's 2014 film short Spinners () and its message about displaced and discarded young people. Film shorts are trickier for me to comment on than features because I rely so much on narrative that "snapshots" leave me too much room for mischief.

*Knowing that Kid Cudi's credos speak to Chalamet adds interesting levels to the actor's descriptions of what gets him going and how he's handling his fame. I suppose walking the line between the desire for affirmation and "whatever" can be tricky.


Pam said...

Someone finally describes what I see.

Proffer58 said...

He's without question the most interesting film personality I've come across in the past five years.

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