- Movie Rating -

Bones and All (2022)

| December 6, 2022

Seven minutes into Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of Bones and All, there’s a violent assault to which may scare most people.  A teenager sneaks out to a slumber party and, while playing on the floor with another girl, bites the skin off of her index finger.  There is screaming, blood, chaos and afterwards she and her father skip town ahead of the cops.

This was a shocking development because what came before seemed like a slice-of-life, the story of a young girl living the slow-paced day-to-day life with her single father.  The assault was a hard road from which to recover and, for me, the movie never did.

Bones and All is an adaptation of a 2015 book by Camilla DeAngelis (which I haven’t read) that ebbs between two stories – one that is beautifully told, and the other which is repugnant and gross.  The main story deals with Maren (Taylor Russell), a teenage girl on the edge of adult expectations who lives in a trailer park with her father.  After the assault, her father decides to separate from her (there’s a history) and we find out that she has the tendencies of a cannibal, not by choice but by design.

What is weird is that she finds a small community of people who have an impulse to become cannibals, including a handsome drifter named Lee (Timothée Chalamet) that she falls in love with.  He moves from town to town, doing whatever he has to do to survive, including occasionally eating people.  So too does Sully (Mark Rylance) a creepy middle-aged cannibal who drops into her life now and then and never stops being creepy.

This is really mud in the eye of an otherwise very good story.  Away from the disgusting cannibalism stuff, the story of Lee and Maren is really beautiful.  There’s a rough-hewn manner to their mutual attraction and a real dramatic intensity to Maren’s search for her family’s secrets and to her own identity.  But it keeps getting interrupted by her need to feed on human flesh, which I found repellant.

That’s too bad because, to this point, there are very few directors whose work I’ve looked forward to like Luca Guadagnino.  His I Am Love from 2009 is one of my favorite films, and I have greatly admired A Bigger Splash and Call Me By Your Name.  His films are always intelligent, always challenging, always exploring the weathers of the human soul from a unique perspective.  I am always with this characters, mind and soul.

Sadly, I cannot say this for Bones and All.  There’s a good story here, just as compelling and beautiful as Call Me By Your Name, but I always stood outside of the film peering at a very good film through the muck of a plot that was just nauseating.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2022) View IMDB Filed in: Drama