#REVIEW: “BONES AND ALL”
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Bones and All is a delicious, satisfying feast.
Based on the Novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis, the Film follows Maren (Taylor Russell) who has a peculiar craving for human flesh. She’s been raised by her single father, Frank (Andre Holland), and they’ve moved from town to town each time Maren succumbs to her craving. On Maren’s 18th Birthday, Frank abandons her. Only leaving behind a cassette tape and Maren’s birth certificate. This sets the young woman on a journey through Midwest America to find her mother. On her travels, she meets other ‘eaters’ who have her tendencies. She picks up a ride from fellow eater Lee (Timothée Chalamet), who’s heading in the same direction. As they drive through the backroads an unbreakable bond forms between them.
Bones and All is the perfect fit for Director Luca Guadagnino. It has a consuming romance reminiscent of Call Me By Your Name with the Horror and Gore from Suspiria (2018). David Kalganich’s nuanced Script makes this more than just a coming-of-age romance. It’s a story about the human condition set in the world of cannibals. No matter how different Maren and Lee are from us, they show us a raw look at the human condition. We see ourselves reflected in their story…well, other than their acquired tastes.
They’re outsiders who desire to be normal. After being abandoned by her father, Maren tries to bury her unsavoury hunger. In one scene we learn she and Lee “need” to feed their unique palates. It’s not a want. Maren is fighting against who she is. Rising star Russell, who many will know from her breakout performance in Waves, is phenomenal in conveying Maren’s internal turmoil. This is one of the strongest performances of the year and a star-making turn for Russell.
Lee doesn’t fight against who he is, however, he dislikes himself for it. In his best performance yet, Chalamet gives a textured, gut-wrenching portrayal of Lee. When they two spend the night at a recent meal’s home, Lee plays “Lick it Up” by KISS (a perfect choice by the Music Department). Chalamet dances and sings around the bedroom, until he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. The victim’s blood has dried around his neck and Chalamet’s reaction shows Lee’s disgust at his impulses. Maren and Lee both desire to be good, but believe they are bad people because of what they need to do to survive.
When they find each other, they find themselves. The more they learn about one another, the more they understand and love each other. And in turn, they learn to forgive, accept and love themselves. Additionally, we grow to care for them. Seeing past their cannibalistic tendencies and understanding their humanity: the desire to be good, to love themselves and to find community.
However, not all cannibals in Bones and All are as lucky as these young lovers. Sully (Mark Rylance) who Maren met earlier in her journey, has the opposite of what Lee and Maren have. He’s been alone all his life. Maren gave him a sliver of hope at companionship. He’s been stalking her since she left him. Rylance gives perhaps the most chilling performance of the year, showing the boundary-crossing lengths someone will go to cure their own loneliness.
Bones and All is the most tender, romantic film of the year. It achieves this while delivering gruesome, superb Horror scenes. Additionally, it showcases a sumptuous Score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and delectable Cinematography by Arseni Khachaturan.
Warner Bros. Pictures Canada release BONES AND ALL in theatres Wednesday, November 23, 2022.