Title – Bones and All (2022)
Director – Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name)
Cast – Taylor Russell, Timothée Chalamet, Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg
Plot – Abandonded by her father during the 1980’s, teenager Maren (Russell) must learn to come to terms with who she is and her strange desires while on a road trip with her new potential love interest Lee (Chalamet) who shares a similar appetite as Maren.
“I don’t want to hurt anybody”
Review by Eddie on 21/12/2022
An undoubtedly ambitious undertaking, critically lauded director Luca Guadagnino can’t be accused of taking the easy route here alongside his screenwriter David Kajganich, as the two adapt Camille DeAngelis cannibal themed road trip romance/coming of age tale that will likely engross (and gross out) some viewers and bore and confuse others.
Transporting DeAngelis’s source material to the 1980’s, Bones and All centres around Waves breakout star and future megastar Taylor Russell’s Maren, who finds herself abandoned by her long supportive father due to the fact she has a curious taste in desires and wants, needs that have ensured the teenager has lived anything but a normal life, a life she soon discovers is shared by others including Timothée Chalamet’s in need of some new jeans Lee, Mark Rylance’s unnervingly tilted Sully and a scene-stealing Michael Stuhlbarg in a polar opposite turn from the one we last saw in his prior collaboration with Guadagnino in Call Me by Your Name.
Holding back nothing, with Bones and All more gruesome and confronting than an unsuspecting viewer might initially expect, Guadagnino throws Maren and we the viewers headfirst into a bizarre world that at times may feel familiar but at other times totally foreign, as Maren and Lee strike up a curious friendship turned romance that acts as some type of flesh eating Badlands that touches on various heavy themes with enough weight for multiple narratives.
Throughout Guadagnino’s road trip venture the work of Russell and Chalamet is at all times top-class and it will be hard for many too forget the sight of a shuffling Rylance bloodied in his underwhites anytime soon, while as you would expect from a film under the guidance of the Italian director, Bones and All is as pretty as a picture with the typically unique and gripping score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross amongst some of their best work as it sets about to enhance the picture it supports but there’s a key element missing from this left of centre tale that holds it back from becoming the romantic masterpiece with a difference it wanted to be.
For various reasons, reasons that don’t identify one key instigator to it all, the central romance between Maren and Lee never sparks the way in which one would’ve hoped for and while the work of its performers isn’t to fault, we’re never drawn in under a spell that sometimes works its magic on audiences in other such star-crossed lovers tales and while those that jump on board with the film will find intrigue and shocks in Maren and Lee’s journey of discovery, it’s unfortunate Bones and All’s heart doesn’t beat as powerfully as it was planned for.
Final Say –
Likely to enrapture as much as it alienates, Bones and All is worthwhile attempt at creating a romance with a difference but not the all-timer it might have been, even if the work of Taylor Russell here showcases the early stages of a budding superstar.
3 1/2 pairs of past their prime jeans out of 5
I’ve read good and bad about this one, and some down the middle. I’m drawn to find out for myself, at least it is a different spin.
It really is a very unique film mate. Worth checking out, I think some will fall in love with it, others will flat out dislike it.
Thanks for sharing. A fine review.