There are many films in which creatures want to live normal lives. There are ones in which they wish they were not what they were born to be. Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All involves a gruesome trail that is harrowing, but mesmerizing. With Taylor Russell and Timothee Chalamet as the creatures, Bones and All is a poetic journey dealing with society and irreparable consequences. The film portrays many grotesque situations and Guadagnino delivers fragments of difficult questions. In Bones and All, the film’s premise speaks for itself.
Bones and All starts with Maren (Russell), a young and lovely lady who cannot resist her urges. She is a cannibal. The time frame the film is set in is Ronald Reagan’s America. Maren’s father has left her to fend for herself. She goes on the road in hopes of starting a new life. She first meets another individual named Sully (played by Mark Rylance) and he is also a cannibal. She does not click with him. Then she meets Lee (Chalamet), another cannibal, but they are both looking for the same thing, a life that is normal. They team-up and drive thousands of miles through Ohio, Kentucky, Iowa, and many other states. They are two cannibals falling in love, but do not want to live the rest of their lives as cannibals. Their journey together makes them want to reconcile with their pasts. They also meet Jake (played by Michael Stuhlbarg) who is a shady guy. All the characters in Bones and All make the audience curious about whether Maren and Lee can find love or acceptance in the rough journey they embark upon. The movie is quite graphic in the beginning, but its overall landscape is rich in feeling for all its characters.
I love Bones and All because of how Guadagnino knows how to blend emotions in the film. He tones down the moments with sad sound effects and captures his characters’ emotions. Bones and All is a story of redemption, but with horrific creatures. However, the director makes it clear that Maren and Lee wish they did not have their cannibalistic urges. Their journey slowly disregards the Hannibal factor and makes love and society the more important elements in Bones and All.
Bones and All has many of the same loving themes as Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name (2017). Chalamet and Stuhlbarg both starred in that film as well. Guadagnino transitions Chalamet’s performance from one questioning who he loves to someone wanting love. The only difference is he wants love as a cannibal. Bones and All is strong in the heavy emotional scenarios. Guadagnino can incorporate love and feelings into his films, no matter how obscure the subject matter.
Will Maren and Lee start a new life? Will their urges come back to haunt them? Can they do good for the world? Bones and All is a ride of curiosities on a bizarre level. While repulsive at first, ultimately effective in terms of its message. Three and a half stars for Bones and All.