A cannibalistic nightmare: "Bones and All"

Illustration by Madison Cohen

Editor's Note: This column contains spoilers.

Director Luca Guadagnino’s latest film starring Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell was released on Nov. 18. Guadagnino is known for directing “Call Me By Your Name” and “We Are Who We Are.” 

But "Bones and All" stands apart from the usual romance movies and television series we’d seen from Guadagnino. The premise of the movie is two cannibals who fall in love featuring excess amounts of blood, addiction and fear. 

The movie has great cinematography, a killer soundtrack and two good-looking main characters, though the main thing the movie lacks is a central plot. It feels as if the movie is all over the place. Now, if that was the point then the director did a great job, but personally it felt like an unplanned mess. 

The first 15 minutes are the most essential, yet possibly most disturbing part of the movie. Set in the 1980s, the main character, Maren, seems to be living in a coming-of-age film. 

At the beginning of the movie, Maren sneaks out of her bolt-locked bed to her friend’s house for a sleepover. Then, suddenly she’s chewing on the flesh of her friend’s bony finger. After the beginning scene, the movie shifts from this coming-of-age movie to a true American horror story.

For a majority of the movie Maren was searching for her mother who left her at a young age for an unknown reason. The director leads the audience to believe it is because her mother was scared of her, which turns out not to be the case. 

When Maren finds her, she soon realizes her mother is also a cannibal and was scared of what she would do to Maren. Though, after this strange interaction, the plot is dismissed leaving the film with little to no direction. 

One of the only things that held this film together was the on-screen chemistry of the two leads, Russell and Chalamet. Both actors made the situation feel like a true trial. If it weren’t for the exceptional acting, this movie would have been ridiculed even further.

There were definitely times in the movie where other characters made no sense, and honestly, the film would have been better off if they were rewritten or never written at all. One of the characters that comes to mind is Sully, who ultimately ends up serving one purpose — to kill off Chalamet's character, Lee. 

In addition to being cliché, this made little sense since Sully had minimal screen time. This makes it seem like his only purpose, besides being a creepy old man who stalks Maren a few times throughout the movie. 

Other characters just seemed like they only served Maren or Lee’s character development. Though, the characters never stop eating flesh and have no strong personal development. 

The reason why this film gets such a harsh review is because of the lack of complexity in the script. Guadagnino’s other movies show strength in the script, which makes this movie a complete disappointment. 

A prime example of this is at the end of the movie when Lee is bleeding out while Maren leans over his dying body. This was when the film became dramatically worse. In Lee’s final moments, instead of heartfelt words about their romance or his last wishes, he tells Maren to eat him. 

The ending was almost laughable yet disgusting. Spoiler alert: She does end up eating him. Overall, the film was a 7/10. It was aesthetically pleasing to watch and the acting was great from the two main characters, but it was one of the hardest movies to follow. 

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