Bones and All Review

I haven’t decided yet if Bones and All is best enjoyed over a glass of wine, or over a can of Mountain Dew and stale popcorn. Might I suggest some fava beans and a nice Chianti? 

A bit of cannibal humor to get us started… *fhfhfhfhfhfhfhfh* 

Eighteen-year-old Maren Yearly (Taylor Russell, she/her) has inherited an increasingly powerful impulse to… well, eat people. This violent habit has forced her father (André Holland, he/him) to move their family on multiple occasions and, after his daughter’s most recent incident, he abandons her to reconcile her dark nature on her own. 

The journey ahead for Maren is complicated. She’ll learn that she’s far from the only “eater” around as she encounters others with similar needs, like the creepy, psychotic Sully (Mark Rylance, he/him), but she also finds kinder company young loner Lee (Timotheé Chalamet, he/him). Together, these two eaters find love in a hopeless place… in a story of two cannibals against the world.    

A horror/romance hybrid directed by the visionary Luca Guadagnino (he/him), Bones and All is a passionately-acted, beautifully-photographed, and often riveting thriller that takes a freakish concept and wields it with a refreshingly sensitive touch. It takes the tenderness of Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name and the grotesque bizarity of Guadagnino’s Suspira to make for a truly unique, genre-bending experience. 

But I’m having a problem. 

I’m having a very, very hard time tracing a cohesive, meaningful statement across this bleak tale that grants it any real-world applicability. No allegory or extended metaphor seems to extend far enough to encompass the constellation of emotions, points of view, plot curveballs, and lore this story has to offer. 

I kept finding myself relating to these characters and their story in some areas… only for their journey to steer into places I couldn’t follow. And, many times, I caught myself projecting my own experiences on this story instead of genuinely responding to the movie’s themes.  

Still, I appreciate a film that’s able to shift so elegantly from such horrific and ugly displays of violence to such sweet and romantic expressions of trust and understanding, albeit around a hollow center.

This movie’s heart isn’t the problem. It’s the bones, I’m thinking. 

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