‘Bones and All’ is more than gore

“Bones and All” is an artfully horrific road trip romance directed by Luca Guadagnino and produced by Timothée Chalamet. The movie entered theaters on Nov. 18 and was met with a lot of excitement from fans.

“Bones and All” follows freshly 18 Maren Yearly — played by Taylor Russell — as she runs from her past while striving to understand more about who she is and why she has cannibalistic tendencies. Along her journey she meets Sully — played by Mark Rylance — who teaches her about a subspecies of humans called “eaters.” Eaters are people in this universe who have urges to eat humans.

“Bones and All” straddles the line between horror and romance. Image courtesy of IMP Awards, Wikipedia

Being an eater himself, Sully attempts to show Maren the ropes, but Maren, finding Sully odd and pursuing her own self-discovery, leaves on a journey in search of her mother. Along the way she meets Lee — played by Chalamet — who also has a dark past he’s running from, thus starting their romantic murderous road trip.

Immediately after watching this movie, I was disappointed in its poor world-building, but as I reflected on it more, the absence of this actually made the story a lot better. The movie made it obvious that eaters had existed for centuries and I was waiting for some kind of explanation for their existence that never came.

At first, I felt like this lack of world-building damaged the movie’s complexity, but I realized that eaters weren’t meant to be this supernatural thing with a fleshed-out origin story. It’s simply a blood-covered tool to spotlight the “otherness” of these characters. It’s a synonym for “outsider.”

Guadagnino is known for putting together visually appealing films, and this beautifully cinematic coming-of-age story is definitely one of his best. As someone who is familiar with Guadagnino and Chalamet’s work, I definitely notice repeated themes, scenes and camera angles, but I think they’re outshined by the story and the excellent visuals. The body horror is a main factor in making this a brilliant movie that stands out from other romantic horror movies.

Though this is a wonderful movie, the dialogue is made up of a lot of sentence fragments that don’t make much sense on the surface. This movie requires a lot of reading between the lines to understand the bigger picture.

I do think that there were some scenes that didn’t make much sense and could have been elaborated on. I am able to excuse the lack of world-building because of how it helps establish the characters as outsiders, but I feel like I would have loved to see a little more character development, especially for Lee’s character. We learned briefly about his life, but we are introduced to his personal morals as an eater that directly contrasts those of other characters, and I would have loved to learn more about why he makes those choices.

Despite this, Chalamet did a good job bringing his character to life with his very specific acting style. Being familiar with him as an actor, I was able to pick up on it immediately. In this movie, it gave his character Lee much-needed depth and I think that he was a good cast for this role. Though I do think that Chalamet mumbles his lines a little too much, and I found it hard to understand him.

Russell’s performance on the other hand was outstanding. She did a really good job portraying Maren as a character who has really dark desires and is doing her best to understand them. She seamlessly portrays Maren’s struggle at finding acceptance in a world in which she feels like she doesn’t belong. I really enjoyed Russell’s performance and look forward to seeing her take on more roles.

This movie is definitely a must-see for any movie-goer this winter. Even if horror isn’t your preference, there are so many elements to this film that make it worth sitting through the gory scenes.


4/5 Stars



Featured photo courtesy of Maximilian Buhn, Wikipedia.