CMBYN: Oh the dinner scene.
That first dinner scene is perfect and every single time I watch it I get this huge smile because Timmy brought book!Elio to life so perfectly, I am so endlessly grateful and stunned.
“Not knowing whether he’d show up at the dinner table was torture…”
Elio walks up to the table expecting to see Oliver and his face falls. You can see he’s expecting Oliver and he’s already having these confusing feelings after the whole “he touched me!” moment during volleyball. Elio is all dressed up. He shaved and made an effort and Oliver ISN’T there?! He wants him to be so much.
“I wanted to kill him myself, even, so as to let him know how much his mere existence had come to bother me, how unbearable his ease with everything and everyone… his cheeky Later!”
Then the bitterness sets in. Elio is such a slave to his hormones and a so perfectly dramatic as he starts to call Oliver names and suggest he’s arrogant. He hates him, he could kill him, he’s going to dislike him. That’s final. He’s almost enjoying it, like he’s happy to be able to put all of his feelings behind a smoke screen of “this dude is so casual and arrogant and clearly doesn’t care about us as he’ll just say ‘later’ and go. So I hate him because he’s the worst and we have to put up with him for 6 weeks.”
“Must not show anxiety. Or that I cared. Stay calm.”
But then his eyes go downcast and he looks to the others at the table because he feels like he’s been caught out. He knows he’s saying too much and perhaps being a little too provocative and harsh so he qualifies it with explaining that Oliver will just say goodbye as if they’re nothing as he’s shown to do it already.
Mr Perlman cuts in and, as the most wonderful father and most astute reader of people, suggests that Oliver may be shy and pointedly looks at his son.
“I wanted him gone from our home so as to be done with him. I wanted him dead too, so that if I couldn’t stop thinking about him and worrying about when would be the next time I’d see him, at least death would put an end to it.”
Elio doesn’t listen though and in true sassy Elio style has resigned himself to hating Oliver. Who cares? Oliver is the worst. He’s so arrogant, I’m going to hate him the whole time he’s here. He’s an ass for not turning up for dinner and parents, I don’t care what you say, I will never ever like him.
Then Annella tells Mafalda to clear away Oliver’s plate settings and my heart soars with how much I ADORE Elio Perlman because he is APPALLED.
How dare she remove Oliver’s place setting? How dare it be done so quickly as if he’s forgotten? What the hell are you doing?
“The removal was performed summarily, without a hint of regret or compunction, the way you’d remove a bulb that was no longer working, or scrape out the entrails of a butchered sheep… or take off the sheets and blankets from a bed where someone had died.”
“I avoided lifting my eyes from my semifreddo, which I loved, and which she knew I loved and had placed there for me because, despite the chiding look on her face… she knew I knew she felt sorry for me.”
Then Elio quite simply moves into Oliver’s spot but spends the rest of the night tetchy, moody, dismissive and so grumpy.
“I didn’t want him to have dinner anywhere but with us tonight.”