You haven’t seen young, star-crossed lovers on screen like this before.
Obsession, infatuation, and unearthing usually come hand in hand in the stories of young love, but director Luca Guadagnino goes one further in Bones and All, adding cannibalism to this coming-of-age, road-trip romance film that blends Endless Love with The Silence of The Lambs.
Opening on high schooler Maren (Taylor Russell) and her father (Andre Holland) as they navigate their simple life despite the secrets they both keep from each other. That is until Maren makes a fatal mistake that sends them in different directions, unfurling revelations about their lives and allowing us (and Maren) to learn about who she really is and why.
First, she meets the awkward and unsettling Sully (Mark Rylance) before meeting traveler Lee (Timothee Chalamet) who has a similar disposition to her. What follows is blood, violence, and blossoming love as Maren travels to learn about how she has become the way she is with Lee by her side.
Bones and All is a feat few directors can manage. Guadagnino makes an emotional story out of characters who many people would consider vile and makes a majority of his impactful scenes through dialogue that is natural and honest. No doubt strongly led by the original young adult novel by Camille DeAngelis, the film is able to navigate the challenges of portraying predatory and violent monsters as attractive and sexual beings with delicacy.
In a way, it combines Guadagnino’s previous films Suspiria and Call Me By Your Name in styles and messages, equal parts love story and brutal horror effectively, retaining its unique story and among the more daring films released in cinemas of late. It’s a sensual film as most of his previous is, with stunning vistas and scenery, this time coupled with romantic themes and horror elements.
It’s the second time that Guadagnino and Chalamet reconnect and you can feel that the former understands what makes the latter such a captivating performer on screen. Russell shines through all her scenes, managing the more emotional parts of her story well. However, Chalamet electrifies the screen with his charisma and threatening presence, stealing the show.
Bones and All won’t appeal to all, particularly with its gory inclusions and a mixed bag of genres. However, the script is able to make a love story sing in the most unusual circumstances, with strong crafts and unique points of view. Despite its reliance on more traditional tropes, it still managed to feel fresh and new and guarantees to leave viewers feeling like they witnessed something truly unusual.