There’s before Bones and All, and there’s after Bones and All. This is a line that Michael Stuhlbarg’s character says in the film, and there is no better way to describe this experience. Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name, Suspiria) directs a visually gorgeous, dark, flawed, and twisted movie with phenomenal performances. This movie mixes multiple genres into one, beginning as a coming-of-age teen drama. The opening is deceptive, at first appearing as an indie A24 movie complete with Taylor Russell of Waves fame.
However, the film quickly takes a dark turn when Maren (Russell) is revealed to be a cannibal. Our indie teen drama turns into a road horror movie with Maren going on the run to avoid the authorities as she encounters love, enemies, and a person from her past. A multi-layered story with a screenplay from David Kajganich pays off in many ways, as Maren meets Lee (Timothée Chalamet), another cannibal whom she connects with on her journey. Their relationship is the heart and soul of the movie, as they grow closer and closer while serving as two flawed, frightening drifters with a craving that the audience can never fully understand.
Guadagnino and Kajganich tell one hell of an original story. It’s a road movie with an unconventional edge and a dark sense of humor. Surprisingly, this is a heartwarming story at times that, much like the characters in the film, can pull your guts out at any given moment. It has fun with this dark premise, putting these two lost souls into an unforgiving world where they meet others like them. This film depicts the nastiness of others and the love that can blossom between two people who need each other despite everything that can pull them apart.
Russell is phenomenal in this film. She is a rising star who grounds the film in her character’s tragic nature. Maren is a layered character who spends much of the movie searching for her mother. While the theme of a lost parent feels like the most conventionally written part of the film, it is handled and performed excellently. Chalamet, one of the most successful actors of our generation, owns his role as Lee. The chemistry between Russell and Chalamet is the force that brings the movie down to earth in a never-before-seen love story between cannibal drifters.
The issue surrounding Bones and All is the skeleton that holds the juicy parts together. Although the movie is never dull, the characters do not always have a ticking clock or a goal to reach. As a result, the film lacks a sense of urgency for much of the runtime, bouncing back and forth between some moments that are interesting and others less so. However, the movie works due to the story’s conviction and the unsettling eccentricities of Sully (Mark Rylance) and Jake (Stuhlbarg), two other cannibals that the pair meet during their journey. Everything comes together in a tragic tale in a world that feels unique to itself. A coming-of-age road romance horror drama? That’s something worth seeing.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 7 equates to “Good.” A successful piece of entertainment that is worth checking out, but it may not appeal to everyone.