Bones and All Review

Luca Guadagnino is a director who is starting to become an auteur director. His films Call Me By Your Name, the Suspiria remake and A Bigger Splash reboot are all distinct visions. His latest film Bones and All once again starring Timothee Chalamet might be the most accessible film he’s done yet and it’s about cannibalism. It’s a beautiful romance as well.

Maren Yearly (Taylor Russell) is a teenage girl who lives with her father in a rundown mobile home in Virginia. When she seeks out at night to go hang with a few high school girlfriends, she is pregnant to eat human flesh crops up as she starts to chew on one of the girl’s fingers. She runs home screaming and her father realizes they need to pack up and get out of there. They move to Maryland and start a new life. Until her father decided to leave her on her own. He leaves some money and a walkman with a cost tape with a goodbye message. At this point, she embarks on a journey across America to find her mother.

Along the way to find her mother Russell’s character meets some interesting characters. One of them is Sully, played by Academy Award-winning actor, Mark Rylance. He’s a creepy old man who has a similar affliction as Russell’s character. Also, she meets a young man Lee played by Timothee Chalamet. These two become fast friends and start to travel together on her journey. They stop off in Kentucky at his old house to visit his sister on their journey to Minnesota. He is also a cannibal like her so they have similar interests in that regard. Also, they meet a weird guy played by Michael Stuhlbarg. He seems to be sizing them up with his buddy played by Halloween Ends director David Gordan Green.

This film is a bit misleading though. It has this subtext of these cannibals that are traveling across the country but it is also a beautiful romance between these two young people. They have a great relationship that I wish I could have had with a young woman my own age when I was this young. The journey across the country was such a great way to tell this story. A road trip film like no other I’ve seen before. They get to know each other and find out that they just have a lot in common regarding their parents and background. If it weren’t for the horrific subtext this would be a straightforward romance film. It’s the horrific stuff that adds an element that is mindblowing to me. 

The performances from Chalemet and Russell are fantastic and these two actors prove they are two of the best young actors in the business today. They just seem to work perfectly together as these two lovers who happen to be cannibals. Mark Rylance is crazy though and he seems to be going to a different level as this older man who just wants to be a father figure to this young lady. When she says she doesn’t want anything to do with him and she wants him to leave her alone I knew he wouldn’t let it go. And he doesn’t. Guadinino gets great performances from everybody involved. 

Along with the performances the technical aspects such as the cinematography, by Arseni Khachaturian, and the score, by Trent Rezner and Atticus Ross, is first-rate. This was a beautifully filmed movie set in the heartland a lot of the time during the 80s. There were so many beautiful scenes of sunsets and green grass fields and hilly valleys. There was some beautiful scenery in this film. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have become quite the composing duo of late. They have been nominated for a bunch of Oscars and finally won two together. They create some interesting sounds and weird compositions for this equally weird/different type of film.

Bones and All is a throwback to films of the past and has a look of said films like Bonnie and Clyde and so forth. With the addition of cannibalism. The romance is a classic tale of love and the performances by Russell and Chalamet are fantastic as these two lovers. Throw in some odd characters like Ryance and you have one of the most original and refreshing films of the year. The horror aspects are done fanatically by Guadagnino and the cinematography and score are some of the best of the year. This film isn’t for the faint of heart but if you can bare a little blood and gore it may be just what the doctor ordered for a change of pace this holiday season.

4 ½ stars 

Dan Skip Allen

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