Bones and All Review: a GOREgeous love story

Looking for something to dig your teeth into? Well, Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All provides a three-course meal.

Esther Arnold
5th December 2022
Image Credit: Pixabay
It seems that director Luca Guadagnino can’t escape the unsettling theme of cannibalism. Both through his story lines and in reality, a thirst for human meat crops up, as previous star Armie Hammer, who featured in Guadagnino’s film, Call Me by Your Name, was brought into the public eye for a supposed cannibalistic fetish. An uncomfortable coincidence.

I wasn’t surprised to see such a large turnout for this long-awaited twisted coming-of-age story. The opening scene portrays peaceful paintings hung up at a classic American school in the 80s, which unknowingly houses our first man-eater of the 2hr running time. Maren Yearly (impeccably played by Taylor Russell), innocently plays the piano with her friend as she is invited to a sleepover. Sounds like a pretty normal high school flick, right? Wrong! Little did the other teens know, their evening of manicures and gossiping would soon end in screaming as Maren has her fill of finger food!

Maren and her dad Frank (portrayed by Andre Holland) continually have a life on the road, with Maren’s hungry habits meaning they can never stay anywhere long, poverty looms ever closer. With the pressure becoming too much for Holland’s character, Maren is left stranded on her 18th birthday. After being left a cassette to help her on her way, she sets out on a journey to find her mother. The troubled teen comes across various other “eaters”, encountering spine-chilling oldie, Sully (Mark Rylance), who teaches her the ropes of “feeding”, having a disturbingly prominent role throughout the movie, before meeting future lover Lee (Timothée Chalamet).

Being like a teen vampire movie, minus the coffins and garlic, I was amazed by the complex and realistic prosthetics, with Jason Hamer taking centre stage in the creation process. Previously working on music videos for the likes of Harry Styles, his expertise was needed in a more extreme environment to ensure this movie seemed authentic. Guadagnino undoubtedly struck gold finding someone with such talent to create his vision. It seemed that for some viewers the realism was too much, as stomachs churned, eventually leading some people to leave half way through the more grisly scenes. For me, however, leaving was never an option, as all other aspects drew me in. I agree that the blood and guts was so convincing it was hard to watch in some scenes, but I feel like that reality was needed. In addition to the set pieces and make-up, the emotionally driven acting brought the film together, with Chalamet and Russell presenting their boundless talents throughout the whole movie.

Based on Camille DeAngelis’ novel, Guadagnino has brought to cinema a story of identity and societal isolation that beautifully portrays the trials and tribulations of many today, obviously minus the chomping on human flesh. The somehow innocent portrayal of Maren and Lee struggling to find their place in society pulls on your heart strings, excuse the irony, and leaves you feeling sorrowful due to the distressing end. I cannot emphasise enough how much I would recommend this poignant thriller, filled with wonderful cinematography of life on the road. Just a tip - don’t watch on a full stomach…

A bloody good film - 9 out of 10.

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