Elio, a seventeen-year-old Jewish American boy, lives in the Italian countryside with his parents. His father, a professor of archaeology, invites an American Jewish graduate student, Oliver, to live with his family over the summer of 1983 and help with his academic paperwork. Elio, an introspective bibliophile and musical prodigy, finds little in common with Oliver, whose carefree and exuberant personality contrasts with his own. Elio also resents vacating his bedroom for the duration of Oliver’s stay. Elio spends much of the summer reading books and hanging out with his girlfriend, Marzia, while Oliver is attracted to one of the local girls, much to Elio’s chagrin.
Soon, Elio and Oliver begin to spend time with each other, and a seductive courtship emerges—they swim together, go for long walks in the town, and accompany Elio’s father on archaeological trips. Although Elio begins a sexual relationship with Marzia and brags about it in front of Oliver to gauge his reaction, he increasingly finds himself attracted to Oliver. He sneaks into Oliver’s room to smell his bathing suit and thinks about him while masturbating. During a trip to the post office, Elio subtly confesses his feelings to Oliver, who gently tells him that he should not act on them. When they go swimming one day, Elio kisses Oliver on the lips, who kisses him back but is reluctant to go further, despite Elio’s insistence. They subsequently grow distant over the next few days, sharing an occasional touch or glance, which only makes Elio long for Oliver more.
One morning, Elio finds a note from Oliver asking him to come to Oliver’s bedroom at midnight. Elio spends the day with Marzia, all the while longing to see Oliver. Finally, at midnight, he enters Oliver’s bedroom and the two make love for the first time. Over the next few days, they grow closer, having sex frequently while keeping their relationship secret. In bed, Oliver tells Elio, “Call me by your name and I will call you by mine”. They refer to each other by their own names while becoming more and more intimate both physically and emotionally. On one occasion, Elio ejaculates into a peach that he has split open, and when Oliver discovers it, he tries to take a bite of the peach in front of a humiliated Elio. Completely smitten with Oliver by this point, Elio starts avoiding Marzia.
With the end of Oliver’s stay imminent, the couple find themselves overcome by uncertainty and longing. Elio’s parents, conscious of the bond between the two, recommend they take a trip to Bergamo together before Oliver goes back to America. They spend three romantic days together, after which Oliver leaves, and a heartbroken Elio returns home. He encounters a sympathetic Marzia, who still wants to be his friend, and his father, seeing how forlorn his son is, tells him that he was aware of Elio’s affair with Oliver. He urges Elio to find pleasure in the grief, since true love of the kind Elio and Oliver shared is rare.
Several months later, during Hanukkah, Elio receives a phone call from Oliver. Oliver tells Elio that he is engaged to be married, after which they call each other by their own names and say how much they miss one another. Newly heartbroken, Elio sits by the fire, eyes welling up with tears as his parents and the house staff prepare a holiday dinner.