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Movie Review: Bones and All

By Lexie Zanghi | November 28, 2022

If you enjoy awkward kissing, romanticizing cannibalism, and gorey slurping noise, you will want to see Luca Guadagnino’s newest film, “Bones and All.”

“Bones and All” stars heartthrob Timothée Chalamet and up and coming star Taylor Russell in this romance/drama set in the 1980s. Russell plays Maren Yearly, a teenager who we find early on cannot resist the taste of human flesh and blood. Chalamet plays Russell’s love interest, Lee, who shares her attraction to cannibalism.

Guadagnino directed “Call Me by Your Name,” another film starring Chalamet which set high expectations for his newest film. “Bones and All” is shockingly different from the coming-of-age love story, both in terms of subject matter and gore, crossing the lines that even the “Saw” franchise would not approach. There are intense audio sequences where audiences can hear flesh being ripped apart or characters drinking blood, and a few scenes which looked a little too real for comfort.


In the very beginning of the movie, we hear that Maren is invited to a sleepover with the girls at her new school. She sneaks out, as her dad does not let her leave the house, giving further light to the tumultuous father-daughter relationship discussed in the film.

Everything seems normal at first: Maren is bonding with her new friends by painting their nails and gossiping. Her and a friend are laying on the ground looking at the friend’s fresh color on her fingers. The color is cute, but to Maren, the finger looks appetizing enough to take a bite out of.

Every crunch and bit of skin falling off the bone is able to be heard, alongside the friend’s screams. This scene, occurring within the first five minutes of the film, is just the beginning of the blood and gore shown throughout the film's 130 minute runtime.

The rest of the film continues to see the characters' gruesome hunger for flesh. Maren meets a strange man named Sully, who becomes extremely important in the third act of the film, and helps her feast on a dead elderly woman in her apartment. Their faces and clothes are covered in blood for a majority of the film. Maren and Lee’s favorite date night activity seems to be sharing their meals of human flesh.

Though the film is told through the lens of two cannibals, it seems Guadagnino was hinting at the symbolism of addiction and toxic relationships. Maren and Lee are so hopelessly in love with each other, that they will go to extreme lengths to keep each other content. The characters in the film seem to know that eating humans is awful and disgusting, but they cannot resist the urge and temptation of it, much like addicts in real life do. They aren’t able to function normally until their hunger for whatever they are addicted to is satisfied. At the end of the movie, Lee and Maren seem to be living normal lives, until Maren “relapses.”

The term “bones and all'' references the cannibalistic community, in the first time that a person eats another human, including their bones. Maren and Lee stick to flesh and blood throughout the film until the very end: Lee is about to die after being stabbed in the lung, and with his dying breath, he tells Maren to eat him, bones and all, because he knows that it will make her extremely satisfied. He says it is the greatest form of love.

While the film does have an extremely gruesome plot, Chalamet’s performance makes the audience feel sympathetic for a cannibalistic murderer. Russell’s acting was good as well, although she could have been stronger in some areas. The film was shot on a Kodak Vision 35 mm, rather than a traditional movie camera, adding grainy scenes melded with vibrant pops of color. The musical score was light and serene, something that might play in the background of a cozy video game, completely contrasting the plot and storyline of the film. The accompaniment offered a stark difference to the unsettling and uncomfortable feeling the movie presents.

Overall, “Bones and All” is a well directed movie, with beautiful cinematography and strong acting, despite a disturbing storyline. Timothée Chalamet is lucky he is so handsome.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Would I watch it again? Possibly, but not very likely.


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