Bones and All Review – High Art Horror, Hypnotizing

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Bones and All, from MGM, presents a contemporary love story, as two young carnivores meet and begin a cross country road trip learning about each other and the bizarre genetic trait that leaves them disenfranchised from society.

The film begins in a small town in Maryland, a young girl, Maren, played by Taylor Russell, is playing the piano at her high school. She is approached by a friend who tells her she is having a slumber party and she should come. When Maren explains her dad won't let her, she jokes, sneak out and follow the power line towers. After this we see as she walks through her small existence, her father, played by Andre Holland, locks her bedroom door from the outside.


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At the slumber party, the girls are talking, and Maren begins to explain a little about her mom, who is absent, and she doesn't know anything about her. The girl is having her fingernails painted and unsuspectingly shows Maren who begins to suck on the girl's finger, and then we see as the girl begins to scream and Maren will not stop, suddenly the girl is able to pull her half-eaten finger away.

Maren runs home to her father, who sees her bloody and instantly explains, "three minutes, we have three minutes, pack whatever you can in three minutes." As they flee, in the middle of the night, once again they find another small town, where they can blend in and hide. One morning she wake up and looks for him and he has left. On the table are a cassette, her birth certificate, and an envelope.

She begins to listen to the tape, and we hear her father explaining his reactions to her condition. After a couple of months, the electricity is cut for non-payment, so she decides now is as good a time has any time find her mom. This sets up the second act.


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She begins her cross-country trip on Greyhound and ends up in Columbus, Ohio. As she steps off the bus, a man, played by Mark Rylance, is watching her. He approaches her and introduces himself as Sully. After a few minutes, of talking it is clear there is a coded language between them, to indicate a knowledge of their nature.

A woman in the house has fallen, and while she is not dead, as Sully explains, he's waiting for her to die. It takes another twelve hours before we understand. Like pigs at the trough, these two begin to consume the fresh flesh of the deceased woman. Maren leaves while Sully is in the shower.

Soon she meets Lee, played by Timothée Chalamet, somewhere in Indiana. And while the circumstance with their meeting is clearly different, we understand again, as he explains the scent of the eater can only be captured by another eater, he has felled his prey and there are leftovers if she is interested.

The two are about the same age, both alone, and without hope. Society has no place for them and suddenly through fate, they have found each other which sets off a liberating road odyssey, a coming-of-age necessity for all youth, as these two disenfranchised loners, coming into their own, hoping for connection and finding a few moments of beauty in this dangerous and lonely world.


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Even as we have seen throughout the film the instances of bonding over the blood of the unsuspecting, the ending is unexpected. Bizarrely, we are hoping these two will find a way to overcome their instincts. As the pair settle into a limited normalcy, they seem to have found some level of peace with themselves and their condition. Of course, it is short lived which sets up the very violent ending.

As Bones and All is a contemporary cannibalism story, there are strong, bloody, disturbing images, and violent content, which is a bit much for many, myself included.

The ensemble of talent plays so against type that they unleash a rarely seen depth in their ability and skills. The film is hypnotizing, it pulls you along for this ride mixing the beauty of the nature and these moments of relatable intimacy and closeness with the shockingly bizarre.

Bones and All is playing in theaters everywhere and should be nearing streaming release dates. Check your local listings. See it if you dare.


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Country: U.S.

Language: English.

Runtime: 131minutes.

Produced by: Luca Guadagnino, Theresa Park, Marco Morabito, David Kajganich, Francesco Melzi d'Eril, Lorenzo Mieli, Gabriele Moratti, Peter Spears, Timothée Chalamet.

Directed by: Luca Guadagnino.

Screenplay by: David Kajganich, based on the novel by Camille DeAngelis.

Cast: Taylor Russell, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, André Holland, Chloë Sevigny, David Gordon Green, Jessica Harper, Jake Horowitz, Mark Rylance.

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