Bones and All is a beautiful love story full of all the things dreams are made of. The warmth of summer, a roadtrip across the stunning countryside camping in the outdoors watching the sun set. All this beautifully scored to make you feel the warm summer breeze and the feeling of love. That is until you realise it’s about cannibals falling in love which makes you want to vomit.
Maren (Taylor Russell) is what you would expect of any 18 year old in a new town and a new school. She just wants to make friends and live her best life. But with her father moving her around all the time, it’s hard.
We learn quickly things aren’t right at home when Maren goes to bed and her father locks her door from the outside. Initially it would be fair to assume she is being protected from her father, alas it’s her father that needs protection.
Maren sneaks out one evening to have a sleep over at her friends in an attempt at making friends. But that quickly turns into a horror scene when Maren bites the flesh off of one of the girl’s fingers.
Maren and her father flee town in hope of evading the police once again. This time, it’s too much for her father who ends up leaving her with her birth certificate and some cash. So, Maren sets on a road trip to find her mother and help answer some questions about why she is the way she is.
Along her journey she meets Sully (Mark Rylance) who happens to be able to smell her kind. Sully welcomes Maren into his life and starts to show her that she’s not the only one and can help her navigate the world as someone who feeds on humans.
Deciding Sully was going to be too much for her to handle, she continues on her journey. And this is where she meets Lee (Timothee Chalamet) who also happens to be someone that eats other humans and he also happens to be of a similar age.
The two instantly hit it off and set about finding Maren’s mother. But when that doesn’t work out the two decide to try living like “other people” for a while. For the most part they are happy. Until Sully shows up again, uninvited.
The best thing about this film is the way it creates this beautiful love story based around cannibalism. The way they talk about their first time is adorable, making the audience feel the connection and smile. Until you realise what it is they’re talking about.
The film captures the stunning summer countryside giving that feeling of a summer romance or a first love. It’s beautifully shot and uses this to almost normalise what’s actually going on.
There’s also the score which is the sound of a simple yet beautiful summer sunset. A complete juxtaposition from the subject matter. Together with the glorious visuals is a wonderful journey around self discovery and romance.
Which brings us to the core of Bones and All, cannibalism. Like a vampire needs to drink blood, these feeders need that of a human body. Some go further than the skin and flesh and eat the bones and all. It’s spoken about so casually you might start to think this could be a very real situation. But when you watch bodies get devoured and their hair kept as a souvenir to make a long strong rope, you know there’s no possible way this romance could exist. But you won’t have those thoughts until after you’ve vomited from having watched some of the scenes.
Leading the cast is Taylor Russell (Lost in Space, Words on Bathroom Walls, Escape Room) as Maren. Russell is almost too comfortable in this role. She navigates this journey of self discovery all the while distancing herself from what it is she does. There are times you can see her actions aren’t connected to her thoughts; it’s quite remarkable to watch.
Timothee Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name, Dune, Little Women) plays Lee, Maren’s love interest. It’s almost an easy role for Chalamet to play a love interest. He has the right look, oozes appeal and confidence. Which makes it confusing to see him and this murderous cannibal. Where Chalamet shines is in that great internal debate with himself as he tries to navigate his life.
This film was a perfect choice for Director Luca Guadagnino. Possibly most famous for his summer romantic film, Call Me by Your Name which also starred Timothee Chalamet. Guadagnino also directed the horror thriller Suspiria giving him the scope to be able to bring both worlds together and create this horrific love story.
Overall, Bones and All is not what you’ll expect and at times not easy to watch. It’ll suck you in with its beautiful summer of love theme. But spit you out the other side unsure if you will ever unsee what you’ve seen. With perfect direction, brilliant acting, superb cinematography and a stunning score, Bones and All is what you would hope life would be like if you happened to be a cannibal. But let’s hope it isn’t.