I like this story. But like could not describe my feeling about it.
I love it, yet love is such a weak word.
There is a huge difference between the film and the book. But I love them both. I admire the director’s choice to cut the final part off and let the story end at the train station where they gave each other a last hug, as well as the choice to terminate everything at a time when they were still young and nothing too complicated had happened, although the relationship itself is complicated and obscure enough. By developing the story only on the foundation of the first three parts, simply showing the days they possessed in that little town in the never-ending summer and the brief three delirious days they spent in Rome which carries such a profound meaning, the director manages to remain the purity and lively vibe in the film adaptation and make it as beautiful.
But I am grateful to see the ending given by the book. It clears so many doubts and adds so many new meanings to this story. While I am extremely touched and speechless witnessing the fascinating and eternal things they together created, I could not taste more sorrow to see their remote relations and occasionally radiant tacit moments after so many years. Was it a dream, the youth, the secretly growing desire, the questions which could not be answered, the unspoken words, the veiled truth, the cultivated courage, the intoxicating intimacy, the ineffable satisfaction and the permanent instants?
Was it a dream? Or later decades of living without each other was a dream, and the summer they once lived is the sole genuineness.
What comforts me is that Oliver didn’t forget everything after all except forgot to call Elio by his name which he did unconsciously or deliberately. He remembered all of them, maybe not all, but the essence of it. It makes me ecstatic to think that his heart is still beating violently for this boy, for them. And I could not be happier to find that he kept the letters from Elio, the Monet post card relating so closely to Elio and the memory they shared. And I could not be sadder reading through all these pages describing the things after the summer ended even when I felt happy.
And I hate the author using such a steady tone, so cruelly put every word onto the page, depicting their each reunion, even though I am fully aware that the author must have been in agony too. And I realize that there are a few things crucial and detrimental that he didn’t pick up and put into details. Elio went to States for college, but they didn’t get in touch. When Oliver revisited that little town soaked in sunshine and exuded compliments on everything there that he was once familiar with and still appreciated, Elio was in States receiving the call. He lived in America, but they had stopped communication. It hurts me to see Elio count the limited times they met during the past 20 years. And each time they finally met, it brings me some relief, unexpected joy and deep sorrow.
Time flies so easily, I couldn’t stop Elio from growing older, Oliver raising kids. I was forced to see Elio stand in Oliver’s room thinking that everything here was his belonging, while hold the disinclination to visit his house and family marked so thoroughly by Oliver’s name. It lighted me to suddenly hear Oliver say, “Goose”, maybe with the similar tone. Meanwhile, it breaks my heart to know that they can never share bed again, with so many things existing. And even when they amazingly got a bit closer again and touched the untouched, Elio could only gasp a sentence like “A drink, not a fuck.” leaving those delicate quiescent things unsolved.
So I could only wish all lovers spend their life accompanied by their beloved ones. May there is no loss and regret on this planet. May all the people own the happiness they deserve.
I could not help thinking what if they started it all over again and lived the parallel life. Then there wouldn’t have been so much pain and tears. The time when Oliver was back after Christmas, Oliver could kiss Elio like the time they did in Rome, and fuck him. And after that, they could cuddle to sleep every night and wake up in one bed the next morning. Elio could still be terribly afraid to face Oliver’s death, but fill each day they survive with happiness. And each of them would be the only person the other says goodbye to before they die, because they would never be apart. Even death couldn’t do them apart.
How I wish all of these were true.