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I watched the film and while the film is an absolute beauty, I couldn't help but think of the reasons why Elio and Oliver could not be together.

Since the movie explicitly doesn't mention any such reason, I can only assume that they weren't together because of social prejudices. However, Elio's family was pretty liberal: even before Elio had a conversation with his father towards the end of the film, a gay couple (friends of Elio's father) visited them, which shows that Elio's family wasn't really homophobic.

As of Oliver, he had a girlfriend back home, but he could have broken it off if he wanted Elio so badly. He implies at the end of the film, though, that his father would have put him in a "correctional facility", so for Oliver's father the romance would have been a strict no-no. This is the only valid reason I got for them to not be together.

So the reason boils down to--Oliver couldn't leave his parents for Elio. Is that it, or am I missing something? I found it really strange that while both Elio and Oliver were so into each other, they never raised a question on the imminent parting; they accepted it like it was a dogma.

I also noticed that Oliver seemed a bit dominant; after their first kiss, Oliver was the one hesitant to continue; yet he later gave in. He often was, or pretended, that he was indifferent to Elio; however, in one particular scene he asks Elio to come towards him, shows his affection (doing something) and then shuts the door! What was that about?

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Well, to me the movie left a few loose endings (like the ones you asked about) and are open to multiple interpretations.

We do not know much about either Elio's past or Oliver's past. It is clear that Elio becomes aware of his sexuality after meeting Oliver, but what Oliver is, that we don't know.

  1. Oliver may be bisexual, but hides his true self because of the society.
  2. Oliver may have been straight all his life and just like Elio, he discovers his other self after meeting Elio. And now he lacks the courage to come out, because of the society. He hates to come out of his comfort zone.
  3. There might be a third possibility which I don't want to throw away. Oliver IS straight. When Elio first confessed his feeling to Oliver, Oliver ignored. But then after realising that he is in a much more liberal family (and also what harm may it do, he is going to go away in few weeks !!), he takes the chance and plays with Elio.

So, the reason for leaving Elio, is either societal fear or Oliver's straight orientation.

I found it really strange that while both Elio and Oliver were so into each other, they never raised a question on the imminent parting; they accepted it like it was a dogma.

If they started asking questions about those things, they would simply lose the time they had, which obviously they didn't want to. It is like either you take what you get or regret for the rest of your life.

...however, in one particular scene he asks Elio to come towards him, shows his affection (doing something) and then shuts the door! What was that about?

Oliver just checked in broad daylight if Elio really had any feeling for him or if the previous night was a mistake.

Now, at the end I would like to add: it doesn't matter why Oliver didn't stay with Elio. The point is to show the struggles of a teenager with various emotions related to first love and loss, and grief is a part of that, which couldn't be shown if the story had a happy ending!

  • In the third point, you mention that "When Elio first confessed his feeling to Oliver, Oliver ignored... liberal family (...harm may it do, he is going to go away in few weeks!), he takes the chance and plays with Elio.".However, there's a conversation between the two where Elio asks Oliver why he didn't give signs to show that he liked him to which Oliver replies that he had touched Elio while playing volleyball just to show that he liked Elio but the way Elio reacted made him feel like he'd molested Elio. So, how can you conclude that Oliver is straight when he was the first one to approach? – Tapi Jun 7 at 15:20

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