‘Bones and All’: Not for the faint of heart, or the faint of stomach

Photo courtesy of Frenesy Film Company

Director Luca Guadagnino and actor Timothée Chalamet join forces once again to create another unforgettable coming-of-age film, “Bones and All,” which came to theaters on Nov. 18. 

The pair first partnered for the award-winning film, “Call Me By Your Name,” which made its debut in 2018. 

“Bones and All” tells the story of two young adults who are burdened by a secret: they’re both cannibals. Maren (Taylor Russell) is an 18-year-old girl who is left by her father once her cannibalistic urges become too much for him to hide. This leads her on a quest around the country to find her mother who left when Maren was only 3 years old. 

On this trip, she meets a man named Sully (Mark Rylance) who reveals himself to also be a cannibal. Sully refers to their kind as “eaters” and attempts to show Maren the ropes since he has decades of experience. 

However, something is off about Sully, and audiences can tell almost immediately simply by his voice and tone. Sully speaks in a slow, higher-pitched southern accent and talks about himself in the third person. His tone has a hint of both innocence and malice, making the audience wonder whether or not this character is truly as kind as he seems.

Maren also comes to meet Lee (Timothée Chalamet), who is a fellow eater. Lee joins Maren on her trip to find her mother, facing trouble along the way and forming a bond over their shared experiences. 

The acting in this film was phenomenal. Mark Rylance’s performance as Sully is one to be marveled at. He portrays his role so perfectly; your skin will crawl and you’ll shudder simply by hearing his voice.

As for Chalamet, he never fails to impress audiences with his character versatility, and this role just goes to show there’s nothing he can’t do. There’s a reason he’s a fan favorite. His acting is seamless and undoubtable, and overall, extremely enjoyable to watch.

[Photo from director Luca Guadagnino’s film “Bones and All.”]
Photo courtesy of Frenesy Film Company

As expected, a film about cannibals can be pretty disturbing, but Luca Guadagnino takes things to a whole new level. According to IMDB, Bones and All received an R rating for “strong, bloody and disturbing violent content, language throughout, some sexual content and brief graphic nudity.” 

The R rating is true to its name. The content in this film is monstrous, but it adds to the depth and intensity of the film. While at points it can be hard to stomach, the balance of chaotic gore and peaceful scenes keeps the story from becoming too overwhelming. 

The special effects in “Bones and All” are exceptionally realistic, so if you don’t fare well with intense blood and carnage, it may be beneficial to skip this film. However, if you’re able to tolerate these effects, then I would more than recommend this movie. 

Guadagnino’s style of film is uniquely beautiful and recognizable. Similar to “Call Me By Your Name,” the soundtrack was instrumental and accompanied by multiple still shots that encouraged the viewer to soak in what just happened. 

Despite all these positive aspects, the movie still has its shortcomings — one of which is the plot, which seemed to be lacking a primary conflict and resolution and can make the viewer feel like they’re along for a ride but have no idea where they’re heading. 

In addition, the film style doesn’t exactly match up with the content of the movie. Guadagnino’s intimate and personal style is perfect for a coming-of-age romance. For a story about cannibals, however, it may have been better to film in a different style completely, one that would capture more horror than drama.

Now that’s not to say the film isn’t enjoyable, it really is, but you can’t help but feel lost and confused as to where the film is heading at times. Yet the uncertainty of the plot helped to curve any predictability, keeping the audience interested. 

The film has some bone-chilling jump scares and suspenseful moments which had me on the edge of my seat, both eager and terrified of what was to come. “Bones and All” has some high points and low points, but overall, it’s a film worth watching.

If you can handle the stomach-churning gore in “Bones and All,” it is undoubtedly a film that will awe audiences and continue Luca Guadagnino and Timothée Chalamet’s reputation as an iconic pair in cinema. 

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