This relationship could've been portrayed as a courtship of convenience or a way of disguising Elio’s true feelings, but instead, director Luca Guadagnino gives a nuanced insight into sexual fluidity and how desire can take different forms.
This includes being drawn to two different people at once, in entirely different ways, and is set in idyllic northern Italy, and Elio's home has an open door policy; all summer long, there's swimming, sunbathing and dinners that last for hours, with family, friends, and guests all welcome.
Elio pursues Marzia as way to work through his frustrations as a result of genuine attraction towards both her and Oliver, and not as weapon to make Oliver jealous.
If he was using her simply to induce envy, he would flaunt every encounter in Oliver's face, but because he actually cares about them both, he doesn't do this.
Marzia is a childhood friend, and while Elio secretly craves Oliver, he publicly pursues her instead.If Elio followed in his father's footsteps, dating Marzia would be playing it safe; he maybe could have something nice with her, but he would always wonder, "what if?" So he goes towards Oliver, the stronger and bolder romantic connection.Marzia is part of Elio’s story, even if she isn't is steeped in self-discovery, sexual awakening, experimentation, and indulgence in all forms.
And it isn’t surprising that such a portrayal is resonating with so many, and that the movie will be considered nothing short of a coming-of-age masterpiece for years to come.
After seeing Oliver get hot and heavy on the dance floor with local girl Chiara, Elio partakes in a night swim with Marzia.