‘Bones and All’ is Exquisitely Disturbing & Painfully Sweet
Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation maps out a surreal, menacing love story that’s difficult to look away from.
Sometimes, I’ll come out of a horror movie and tell my friends, “Fair warning, this one’s not for the faint of heart.” I’m mostly talking about gore; I know a lot of people are tired of blood and guts as the main event — Saw-style, put on a platter and shoved under their nose like a side-show.
Bones and All, though, does something that’s far more affecting and upsetting: it’s a horror film about a romance for which gore is an inescapable byproduct for our two leads. As is often the case with “alternative” lifestyles, it’s the thing that brings them together — and makes it impossible for them to stay that way.
Maren (Taylor Russell) has been an “eater” since she was a child but can’t remember much of it. Her father — stretched to his limits of understanding— eventually gives up years of covering up her crimes and abandons his 18-year-old, leaving her with a cassette tape detailing all the people she’s eaten, plus his subsequent clean-ups. Intending to find her birth mother several states away, she goes on the run with limited understanding of her appetite and how to control it — until she meets Lee (Timothée Chalamet).
Lee isn’t the first of her kind that she’s met, but she quickly throws her lot in with his brusque confidence; it obviously appeals to her, especially as she struggles to navigate how to exist in a society she can’t fully be a part of. After a series of close calls, threats, betrayals, murders, and moments of understanding, Lee brings her identity crisis to a head by succinctly laying out her options: “either you eat, you off yourself, or you lock yourself up.” Maren wonders if a life with Lee might keep all of those choices at bay long enough to feel normal.
It’s hard to articulate just how deftly and successfully Bones and All acclimates its viewers to such a squeamish…