Luca Guadagnino’s cannibal love story bites to the bone.
I’ve never seen a trailer for Luca Guadagnino’s “Bones and All,” as a mechanism my late grandfather did, and I was trying to be absorbed into how IMDB labels it “horror,” “romance,” and “drama” in the genre section. Taylor Russell, in her best role since “Waves,” plays a teenage girl named Maren Yearly in the late 80s, whose father (Andre Holland) doesn’t let her go out after dark and locks her in her room. She manages to sneak out through her window to hang out with her classmates. You puts a girl’s finger in her mouth, not to be sexy, but to take a bite out of it. That’s when she runs home to daddy, that’s when they pack up, and that’s when he abandons her with only a documented tape recorder and money.
So, I’m thinking: she’s a vampire? No, vampires don’t go out in the sun. Of course! She’s a cannibal! Stupid question before, but this was a lot for me to digest, and she isn’t the only one of her kind. They would be known as “Eaters.” They have their regrets of eating people, but they do it to survive. And yet, they eat other foods, according to some diner and carnival scenes. So, I would need a better explanation.
Maren travels cross country looking for her cannibal mother (Chloe Sevigny), who may hold more answers to her taste for human flesh. En route, she comes across some others of her kind.
There’s Sully (Mark Rylance), who has a fishing vest and feather hat, and can smell her smile away. He tells her it’s against the rules for an Eater to eat another Eater. He begins following her on her journey, up to a conclusion that makes absolutely no sense. There has to be a better explanation for his nature, which I couldn’t really read.
Next, there’s the movie’s strongest supporting character Lee (Timothee Chalamet, also a producer), who looks like he needs a bath, especially when he’s covered in blood at times. We see him eating jerky people, by dragging them at his smart and steady pace. He and Maren become closer and closer along the way, and they both struggle to cope with their hunger and how they can even go on living.
And in a small subplot, there are two redneck Eaters by the names of Jake (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Brad (David Gordon Green), who bring them some beers, and are both different kind of Eaters. They eat their prey down to the bone. Imagine you’re given a small portion of delicious buffalo wings, and you’re still so hungry, you chew them down to their bones. That’s how hungry these Eaters are, but Maren and Lee both manage to escape from their clutches before they can try anything funny.
“Bones and All” is not for the faint of heart, but more for people that loves elevated horror being balanced by the romantic drama genres. Not seeing the trailer for this movie really boosted my interests in where this was going. Thank you Papa (my grandpa) for reminding me about that. I’d be lying if I knew the whole story, but I’m seeing it in a light that’s often shunned by more commercial films.
This is the kind of horror film that Russell should be acting in, instead of being typical in the “Escape Room” movies, and she presents it with the same emotions as demonstrated in “Waves.” And she connects well with Chalamet, who continues to work with Guadagnino on the same levels as “Call Me By Your Name.” This filmmaker is making romance movies that are more low key, sentimental, and original than most routine romances.
There’s love, blood, hindsights, blood, love, choices, and still more blood. I’m just glad the police didn’t pop them and shoot them down. And when we get to a mental hospital scene, it’s beyond daring and exhilarating.
In Select Theaters This Friday
Expands on November 23