Many complain that there is a lack of good movies these days, and to that I say, you are not looking in the right places. Take the 2017 movie, Call Me by Your Name as an example.
The movie is set in 1980s Italy, and it tells a story of a romance between a 17-year-old student (Timothee Chalamet) and a slightly older man (Armie Hammer) in his 20s, who was hired to be the research assistant of the student’s father.
The New York Times said that “Mr. Guadagnino’s latest, ‘Call Me by Your Name,’ is another ravishment of the senses, though this time there’s a strong narrative tethering all the churning feelings and sensuous surfaces.” And in my experience, you can really feel it, and you will be left craving for more.
So, is there more? This is the question that I set out to answer, and I found no less than 15 movies that you might want to watch if you liked Call Me by Your Name.
Blue Is The Warmest Color (2013)
Blue Is The Warmest Color is a French film that follows a French teenager Adèle, who meets a young blue-haired woman and has her life completely changed by the encounter.
The young woman, Emma, helps her make sense of who she is, and leads her on the road to discovering desire, and asserting herself as a woman, an adult, as well as an artist.
The movie goes through love and loss, and ultimately, it shapes Adèle into the person she was meant to be.
The film stars Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux.
My Own Private Idaho (1991)
My Own Private Idaho will be a perfect way to move on from Call Me by Your Name if you appreciated the film’s sadness.
One of the classics from the ’90s, this is a deeply personal road movie that will take you through a whole range of emotions for its duration.
The plot follows two young men, Scott and Mike who travel the country on a quest to find Mike’s estranged mother.
With Mike being gay and secretly in love with Scott who is straight, the two have a complex relationship to explore as their search continues.
The film stars Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix.
Moonlight is easily one of the best-known movies on this list, and chances are that you may have even seen it already. But, if not, I strongly recommend it.
It is an emotional roller coaster that follows a young man who is grappling with his sexuality, while traveling through three very different chapters of his life.
He will experience ecstasy, pain, and even fall in love in this coming-of-age story, which is set in Miami.
The film stars Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, and Mahershala Ali.
Happy Together (1997)
Happy Together is another popular one from the ’90s when films about gay love started receiving greater attention. However, only a few before or after this one managed to have such a strong impact on the audiences. Best of all, it did that 20 years before Call Me by Your Name.
The movie follows two lovers from Hong Kong, who travel to Argentina, only to have their relationship broken apart, and then brought back together right before the end.
It is a perfect portrayal of the ups and downs that trouble every modern relationship, but it did so during a time when not many others were willing to present queer relationships to non-queer audiences.
The film stars Leslie Cheung and Tony Leng Chiu-wai.
Before classics from the ’90s, however, there is a cultural gem released in 1987 called Maurice, which, according to many, is responsible for defining an entire cinematic style.
Adapted from the novel by the same name written by E.M. Forster, Maurice follows a young man called Maurice Hall (James Wilby) through his struggles as he tries to come to terms with his sexuality and find himself.
Maurice can be considered one of the most important cultural predecessors of films such as Call Me by Your Name, and it definitely deserves watching.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)
Jumping into more recent releases, we have The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which was also based on a novel of the same name, written in 2012 by Emily M. Danforth.
The Guardian described it as “a sad, sweet, funny coming-of-age movie where nobody comes of age,” as all of the characters came of age before the film even started.
However, they were not allowed to be the people they ended up being, and were sent to a Christian teen camp to repeat the coming-of-age process “correctly.”
The film tackles all the problems that the homosexual community has been facing throughout history when confronted with those who have strong religious views, and at an extremely vulnerable time of one’s life.
The film stars Chloe Grace Moretz, Steven Hauck, Quinn Shephard, Kerry Butler, and others.
Water Lillies (2007)
Next, we have Water Lillies – the first film in a trilogy directed by Celine Sciamma, who said that she sees these as a loose trilogy of coming-of-age stories.
Water Lillies was the debut film, and it follows a 15-year-old Marie who lives in Paris. She is desperate to join the swimming team after falling in love with Floriane, the team’s captain.
Marie has another friend Anne, and the three girls continue to explore their sexual desires, each with her own experiences.
The movie explores, rather realistically, the experience of first love, but also first lust.
It stars Pauline Acquart, Louise Blachere, and Adele Haenel.
Saving Face (2004)
Saving Face is an interesting take on this theme, which follows the life of Wil, who is trying to balance her career as a surgeon with her obligations to a traditional Chinese family.
The situation becomes even more complex for her after meeting the daughter of her boss, Vivian. As you can imagine, it wasn’t long before the two ended up being in a secret relationship.
The situation escalates further, with Wil’s mother showing up with her own shocking secret.
All in all, this is a film filled with twists and turns, some of them fun, others emotional, but all very interesting.
The film stars Michelle Krusiec, Lynn Chen, and Joan Chen.
This was another movie that gained a lot of attention upon release, and probably one that is most in touch with the sense of place on this entire list. Set in Columbus, Indiana, it explores the characters’ relationship with their location, as well as with one another.
It follows an aspiring architect Casey, who was born and raised in Columbus. However, while she works at the library and gives architecture tours in the city, she meets Jin, a traveler from South Korea.
Jin came to visit his estranged father, who just so happens to be a very successful architect.
The movie has its twists and turns, but overall, it is quiet, and quite aesthetically astonishing, which definitely makes it worth watching.
It stars Haley Lu Richardson, John Cho, Michelle Forbes, and others.
Somewhere is a different kind of movie, but what it has in common with the rest of them is the fact that it makes you think and question your life, choices, behavior, and more.
It follows a top-notch Hollywood star Johnny Marco, who struggles with everyday life because all of his success and fame feel meaningless.
However, he has an 11-year-old daughter, Cleo, who visits him, which ends up turning his entire life around.
It is a solid movie to watch, and it raises interesting questions about what we have, what we want, and what needs to be cherished.
The film stars Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning.
While Call Me by Your Name is set in the ‘80s, it never mentions the infamous AIDS crisis throughout its duration.
The epidemic was not completely ignored, as there was a scripted part of the movie that mentioned it but it was ultimately cut, and the AIDS crisis ended up being something of a background matter, despite being a major part of life during this period.
That is not the case with Buddies, which was the first movie to actively deal with it and show what life with AIDS is like.
It spins a deep story of a friendship between Robert, who was abandoned by his family after his diagnosis was established, and David, who was assigned to be Robert’s volunteer “buddy” during his final days.
The film stars Geoff Edholm and David Schachter.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)
While on the topic of friendship, I must also recommend Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
This is a complex and strongly emotional film that follows Greg, a socially awkward teenager who spends the majority of time with Earl.
The plot thickens after Greg’s mother insists that he befriend Rachel, a girl who suffers from leukemia, which he does, albeit he was not too pleased about it, initially.
But, before long, the three teens develop a strong and heartwarming friendship as they struggle with the usual problems of adolescence, combined with the possible death on the horizon.
The film stars Olivia Cooke, Thomas Mann, and RJ Cyler.
Like Crazy (2011)
Another devastating tale that also includes romance comes from 2011’s Like Crazy.
This film is about an American student Jacob who meets Anna, an exchange student from London.
In a truly romantic fashion, the two fall for one another right away, and they seem like they were meant for one another. However, the romance hits a major roadblock after Anna’s visa expires and she is denied entrance back into the US.
This is where the struggles of a long-distance relationship kick in, especially in combination with life’s other problems.
The film stars Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin.
Tropical Malady (2004)
It is said that no one could go back to watching other movies with the same enjoyment after watching one of the films by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, but that goes double when it comes to Tropical Malady.
This film shares a number of elements seen in Call Me by Your Name, such as the understanding of love and its wordless, physically intuitive processes. It also holds strong ties to nature, the weather, and all of their elemental pull.
However, Weerasethakul does it with a mastery that can never be replicated by anyone else.
The plot itself is as mysterious as they come, following two men living in the Thai countryside who start developing a mutual attraction. From there on, it branches out into strong poetic abstraction which needs to be witnessed in person.
It stars Banlop Lomnoi and Sakda Kaewbuadee.
Finally, we have Juno a film named after its main character, who is a social misfit who shields herself from any hostility with wit and sarcasm.
However, Juno finds herself in uncharted territory after discovering that she is pregnant.
Now, teen pregnancy is never easy, and being a teen mother is even harder. These are the thoughts that inspire Juno to decide to give her future child up to adoptive parents.
However, as she gets to know them more, she also gets more involved herself.
The film stars Elliot Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons, and others.