By Bill Dudley
Even though I have been working 12-14 hours a day at my new record store www.dudleysrecords.com, I somehow still found time to see three great new films.
(1) The Post: Meryl Streep continues her sensational career this time playing Katherine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post for 2 decades, who bravely gave the OK to cover “The Pentagon Papers”, the story that preceded “Watergate” as one of the first big political stories of the turbulent 1970’s. Tom Hanks costars and Steven Spielberg directs.
(2) Darkest Hour: Gary Oldman gives the performance of his life as Sir Winston Churchill. Joe Wright directs an excellent cast. The film covers the early years of World War II, and how Churchill, (a controversial figure already), became the Prime Minister of England. He was the right man at the right time. The rest is history. I predict Oldman will win the Best Actor Oscar. Darkest Hour is a very good film. Oldman is a standout.
(3) Call Me By Your Name: This is a little film that was made in just over a month, after 10 years of persistence by Italian director Luca Guadagnino, who also gave us Melissa P in 2005. Shot in a small Italian village dating back to the 1700’s, Based on the best selling novel by Andre Acimon, it is the story of an Italian-American Jewish family in 1983, focusing primarily on their 17 year old son in a coming of age story. This film has strong adult themes.
Armie Hammer is getting lots of props since the film was a smash at Sundance, but I must say two other actors made a greater impression on me. One is young Timothee Chalamet who plays the son, Elio. This kid has great depth and a deep understanding of his character. I also found out that depth may have come from personal experience, as he once dated Madonna’s daughter. The other standout was the actor who played his father, Michael Stuhlbarg. He is the best actor whose name you don’t know, until now. You have seen Michael in countless films and TV productions. He was actually in all three movies I saw this week.
The two final scenes will stick with me forever, as father and son have a very stirring conversation summing up the summer that has just ended. The compassion and with deep understanding rarely seen in a father is a striking performance by Stuhbarg. Both performances are Oscar worthy. The film’s credits roll over the final scene of Elio and his breaking heart,which may be the longest crying scene in film history by any character ever. Timothee Chalamet said the tears were real, as the film was shot in sequence, and it was a natural reaction to the wrapping of a great story and an even better company of players. The LA Film Critics Association has just named Call Me By Your Name, as the Best Picture of 2017.