Fast Film Reviews | | Bones and All (2024)

Fast Film Reviews | | Bones and All (1)

Fast Film Reviews | | Bones and All (2)

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

According to the press materials. Bones and All is a tender tale of first love. Maren is a young woman learning to survive on the margins of society. Lee is a disenfranchised drifter. An unforgiving world cannot accept them. These youths drive off together on a “liberating” odyssey where they come to terms with who they are. You may ask, “Who are they?” because the official synopsis hides a salient reality. They’re cannibals! The title refers to the ultimate level: eating the entire human.

So that’s a weird concept. Remember the Fine Young Cannibals? The British band got its name from a movie starring Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood. A literal interpretation would be a perfect title for this film too. This romantic cannibal road picture is a parable about star-crossed loves who cannot resist devouring people. Based on cultural references, I’d say the year is about 1983. Maren (Taylor Russell) is a teen coping with her true nature. She wants what anyone wants, to be loved. However, Maren’s preferences have forced her into a shameful exile. She didn’t choose to be this way. After her father (André Holland) abandons Maren, she meets Lee (Timothée Chalamet), and the two go off on a journey together. Each geographic location gracelessly announced by the official state abbreviation in bold white letters across the screen.

These are morally reprehensible individuals. This duo is akin to the ones in classics like Badlands or Bonnie and Clyde. Writer David Kajganich (2018’s Suspiria) adapts this edgy drama from Camille DeAngelis’ 2015 young adult novel. The screenplay wants us to embrace their lamentable status as misunderstood loners. Oh, they have their “morals.” Maren attempts to limit her victims to ones who have already died. Lee tries to only kill souls whose deaths won’t affect others. He fails. At a slaughterhouse, Maren and Lee observe that cattle have families too—as if to plead that killing humans is the same as consuming meat. The fact that DeAngelis is vegan bears a mention.

It’s impossible to ignore that these teens do eat innocent people. The movie graphically reminds us of this. Bones and All is directed by Luca Guadagnino, who did the far superior Call Me By Your Name. This is a different kind of love story. I enjoyed the art-house aesthetic. Nuanced performances (when they’re not chowing down on humanity) are shot by Arseni Khachaturant using sentimentalized soft-focus cinematography. A hip indie cast includes Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man), André Holland (Moonlight), and Chloë Sevigny (Boys Don’t Cry)

Nevertheless, the smattering of positives wasn’t enough to overlook the overwhelming negatives. The plot is simplistic and empty, with only intense — no stomach-churning — violence at its core to distinguish it. These cannibals enthusiastically dine on dead bodies. The demise of one poor older woman who fell over and couldn’t get up still haunts me. I’m talking Grand Guignol. Feast your eyes on close-ups of mouths tearing into her flesh and pulling out chucks. Yes, body tissue will be mutilated and devoured in a bloody fashion. Some may find more to like if they can see past the blood and gore into the metaphor the screenplay is trying to push. I couldn’t get past the idea that this is simply a saga about bad people doing things I don’t want to watch.


5 Responses

  1. I knew from previews what this was about. I was hoping on a creative take on the subject, with minor gore. But no, this was a disappointment. I will say I liked Mark Rylance. He gave an eerie performance that was very creepy. I wanted more from him. 2 ⭐️


    1. I went in completely cold. I still would have hated it even if I had been prepped. THis should’ve gone directly to streaming. If it makes more than $10 million, I’ll be shocked.


  2. Just in response to your above comment, yes I find it incredibly frustrating that Glass Onion only did a week-long lap in theaters and hits Netflix when Bones and All is hanging around for awhile.

    This movie just kind of gives me a queasy feeling, I don’t know what it is. Maybe Timothee Chalamet’s gaunt physicality, maybe the marketing campaign. Just, not for me. Thanks for saving me the time.


    1. Yeah, I’d steer clear. Only lovers of the book need to see this.

      I have no idea what Netflix is thinking with its release strategy. Theaters just experienced the worst Thanksgiving holiday box office since 1994. Glass Onion (and Wakanda Forever) were the only bright spots. The Knives Out sequel made $15 million in the few days it was out and that was in less than 700 theaters.

      Thanks for your comments buddy! Always appreciated.

      P.S. Did you not like Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio? I saw your “angry” reaction to my #NowWatching Facebook post.


      1. Yeah, I probably could have clarified that on your post. I was reacting to the fact Guillermo del Toro has gone ahead and made Pinocchio look like some kind of nightmare. There are two directors I really can’t stand when they touch certain properties; one is Tim Burton (what he did with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory still makes me mad) and the other is del Toro. Fine director, a unique style and he’s made popular movies but for whatever reason I really can’t embrace his Disney-for-adults approach to a childhood favorite of mine. I at least probably should do the decent thing of watching it and having a more informed opinion but this just looks really off-putting to me.


Fast Film Reviews |  | Bones and All (2024)


Why did Maren eat Lee in the book? ›

Sully attacks Maren, revealing himself to be her grandfather and planning on killing and eating her, but Lee intervenes, only to be mortally wounded in the process. As an act of love and devotion, and to please Lee, Maren gives in and eats him, "bones and all", a rite of passage for cannibals like her.

How scary are Bones and All? ›

Parents need to know that Bones and All is an edgy romantic drama based on Camille DeAngelis' same-named 2015 novel about two young cannibals (Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet) on a road trip across America. The mood veers sharply from tender romance to extremely intense violence and horror and back again.

Was Sully real Bones and All? ›

Spoilers for Bones and All (2022). In Bones and All, Mark Rylance's villainous Sully might not be a real person and could, in reality, be a figment of the troubled Maren's imagination.

Why do people like Bones and All? ›

BONES AND ALL is an intense, heartbreaking, and uplifting tale that is sure to leave an impact. It's a must-watch for anyone who enjoys horror and romance, or simply needs a reminder of the power of love. Be warned though - this movie has lots of blood and gore, so it's not for the faint of heart.

Did Sully want to eat Maren? ›

Sully never explains his own desire to consume his descendants, though his stubborn and ultimately self-destructive fixation with Maren hints at complex psychological motivations.

Does Sully try to eat Maren? ›

Now, Sully concludes, it's too late for him to reach Francis in the mental institution, so he stalks his own granddaughter, Maren, instead. Maren realizes that Sully intends to kill and eat her, and in the ensuing struggle, she grabs a statuette of a sphinx that Sully took from Mrs.

Does Maren eat Lee in Bones and All? ›

After eating Lee, she realizes that she can't help but eat other cannibals. It's a haunting ending to Maren's coming-of-age story. Despite what she always feared, she truly has become the “monster” that her father always imagined that she would be.

What is the message of Bones and All? ›

“It's a dark fable—it's a fable about overcoming your limits and your nature, and finding love.” The way Bones and All focuses on the romantic elements of this forbidden love affair isn't too different from its source material.

Did Sully eat Kayla? ›

At some point during all the action, his bag is knocked over, and the braid spills out. Maren notices Kayla's bright blonde hair as the most recent addition to it and understands that Sully must have used her to find out where Maren and Lee were living and then eaten her.

Is Marens dad an eater? ›

Maren's father, Frank (André Holland) is her Black parent. He's also not an “eater.” Parenting her, we learn, has been a matter of attempting to suppress, contain, and control her appetites while shouldering the fiscal, social, legal, and spiritual consequences when that endeavor inevitably fails.

Did Lee eat his dad's Bones and All? ›

This is when there is another big reveal: Lee explains that his dad was a cannibal, too. He says that he ate his dad and he feels terrible about it. The couple says that they can stop eating people and be together for real now.

Was Sully in love with Maren? ›

Before meeting Lee, Maren encounters Sully, whose attraction to Maren is confirmed at the end of the movie. However, Maren never reciprocates the feelings that Sully has for her. Instead, she is extremely cautious around him.

What is cannibalism a metaphor for in Bones and All? ›

Through Guadagnino's attentive work, cannibalism becomes a metaphor for closeted queerness: a way of dramatizing both the consummate longing and consonant shame of wanting something you shouldn't.

Why does she eat people in Bones and All? ›

For Maren's part, she can't help it. She was simply born this way, drawn to eat those who crave her, chomping them up, bones and all, until their bodies become a part of her own. This thing Maren does is unacceptable, and yet, for her at least, it is always inescapable.

What does the cannibalism mean in Bones and All? ›

The attraction to human flesh, as depicted in the film, is highly fictional, sure. But one of the most commendable things about Bones and All is the way it uses cannibalism to heighten its depiction of life as an outcast.

Why does Maren eat Lee in bones and all? ›

Despite what she always feared, she truly has become the “monster” that her father always imagined that she would be. However, Guadagnino chooses to keep Maren's next steps more ambiguous. Maren's consumption of Lee is symbolic of the lasting nature of their relationship.

Why does Maren eat people in bones and all? ›

Throughout the novel, Maren consumes several boys and young men who express interest in her, suggesting that her cannibalism is closely tied to her own romantic and sexual desires, even though it also prevents her from intimacy with others.

Why do Maren and Lee eat people? ›

Always, they seal their own fates: it is their wanting that brings about their deaths. For Maren's part, she can't help it. She was simply born this way, drawn to eat those who crave her, chomping them up, bones and all, until their bodies become a part of her own.

Did Maren eat Lee at the end of bones and all? ›

In the book, Maren eats Lee against his will. In the movie, Lee is hurt when he and Maren kill Sully. Maren puts him out of his misery by eating him, at Lee's request.


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