So, what’s eating you? Or better yet, who? Bones And All takes these questions very literally. Luca Guadagnino directs an all-star cast in this year’s most unconventional look into love and relationships. The film is based on a novel by the same name written by Camille DeAngelis. It examines relationships with others and ourselves under a deliciously sinister microscope. That all being said, the marketing is pretty misguiding as it presents the film as straightforward horror. A more accurate description would be coming of age mixed with hints of horror. So now let us jump into the film and its deeper topics. Please note that there may be a few minimal spoilers ahead. This is your official warning!
The film centers on Maren, a shy and introverted teenager. She also happens to experience cannibalistic tendencies. A real people person. After yet another incident, she and her father are forced to flee their most recent home. Maren is finally forced to take on life on her own when her father flees. As she journeys towards an estranged family member, she encounters more of her “kind.” So many give in to their dark urge and become genuinely monstrous. But then she meets Lee, a young man with the same affliction and a kind soul. The two create a bond as they begin to travel together. Now while that can sound scary, the opportunity to tell a story of belonging overshadows the minimal scenes of actual horror. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is still quite gory when it needs to be, but it’s the coming-of-age sections that will really resonate with audiences. But do proceed with caution!
Taylor Russel really put her all into the role of Maren. She brings empathy and reason to a character whose deeds are malicious. It takes excellent emerging talent to play a complex character with such humanity. Her performance is well matched by Timothée Chalamet and Mark Rylance, the latter playing a pretty menacing villain. Rylance finds a way to balance the line between unnerving and inhuman, pulling qualities from each. Chalamet joins in as an offset yet well-meaning as Lee. The past haunts him, and Chalamet performs an all-time best in the final act of the film. Now toss in beautiful cinematography, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and an eye for indie dramas, and I’d say it has made a new classic for me.
When I went to an advanced film screening on the 16th, a lot of the feedback was about the terrible marketing. That affected people’s view of the film as they thought it was straight horror. So please, if you are considering seeing the film, try to go in with some understanding of the content beyond horror elements.
At the end of the day, the film pushes the importance of human connection and relationships. It’s a film about loners and outcasts making conscious choices to give in to their dark urges or be vilified by a dangerous community. When the day is done and the sun has set, will you look back at your atrocities and feel guilt or hunger? And then what happens next? Sorry, it may have gotten a bit off the rails, but they are my questions and thoughts! I hope you have a great day, and I hope you know your neighbors…