Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Taylor Russell, Mark Rylance, Kendle Coffey, André Holland, Ellie Parker, Madeleine Hall
Runtime: 2 hrs 11 mins
Rating: R21 (Mature Theme and Violence)
Released By: Warner Bros
Opening Day: 24 November 2022
Synopsis: "Bones and All" is a story of first love between Maren (Taylor Russell), a young woman learning how to survive on the margins of society, and Lee (Timothée Chalamet), an intense and disenfranchised drifter... as they meet and join together for a thousand-mile odyssey which takes them through the back roads, hidden passages and trap doors of Ronald Reagan's America. But despite their best efforts, all roads lead back to their terrifying pasts and to a final stand that will determine whether their love can survive their otherness.
This could have been a very different movie. Based on the 2015 novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis, the story follows a pair of cannibalistic lovers as they make their way across the country. Yes, you read that right - the protagonists of the film are cannibals.
The filmmakers could have scared the s**t out of you with scenes of the characters eating the flesh and devouring the internal organs of other human beings, and sent you home with sleepless nights and horrible nightmares. But what you’ll be getting instead from Italian director Luca Guadagnino is a coming of age film that is romantic beyond words. And most importantly, it is a film that reminds you how much the camera loves Timothée Chalamet.
In case you haven’t noticed, the world is obsessed with the 26 year old actor. We think it’s because of his beautiful mane of curly hair, which seems to have a life of its own and can emote as much as the boyish actor on the big screen. Of course, there are the bold outfits he wears to red carpet events. Honorable mentions include the bejeweled Louis Vuitton harness he wore to the 2019 Golden Globes, the satin Prada jacket he donned at the 2020 Oscars, and most recently, the red Haider Ackermann backless halter top which sent cameras clicking away furiously at the Venice International Film Festival premiere of this movie.
Okay, we digressed. But after sitting through this 131 minute film, you really cannot think of another actor who can pull off the role with such charisma. Chalamet plays Lee, a drifter whom Maren (Taylor Russell who is probably going to get international attention with this, ahem, meaty lead role)meets after she realises that she needs to know the truth behind her cannibalistic behaviour. It turns out that Lee is a fellow ‘eater’ (they can apparently smell each other), and the two young people go on a road trip that serves as a self discovering journey for both of them.
Chalamet reunites with Guadagnino after his breakout role in the director’s romantic drama Call Me by Your Name (2017), and if you loved the film’s last scene featuring a close up shot of Chalamet crying in front of the fireplace, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of scenes where the camera lingers on the actor’s features. It doesn’t matter that he is dressed in sloppy tees and torn jeans most of the time – they just look good on him.
Elsewhere, Canadian actress Russell is the breakout star of this film. The 28 year old does a fine job of portraying a misfit trying to find her place in the world. The sequence where she bites off the finger of a schoolmate who kindly invited her for a sleepover will be talked about for years to come. The initial sexual tension felt in the scene shockingly turns to fear and helplessness (complete with a severed finger) sets up the film nicely in its first 10 minutes. After getting the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the 79th Venice International Film Festival (where the film was also recognised with the Silver Lion), we are hoping that the actress will go on to make her mark in showbiz like her co star.
The film also scores because of the powerful and truly creepy performances delivered by acclaimed actors Mark Rylance and Michael Stuhlbarg, who play fellow ‘eaters’ who show up along the Maren and Lee’s road trip. Chloë Sevigny has a bit role as Maren’s mother, and the short scene she has is unforgettably integral to the story. André Holland plays Maren’s father with grace, and it is a role that is handled with tender and care by the actor.
Given the nature of the story, you can also expect quite a bit of violence and blood. Things are going to be messy, but they do not feel exploitative (like the Saw films). Instead, it may leave you wondering how it feels to be someone who is born with this behaviour which is not a societal norm. In fact, in a society that frowns and expresses disgust towards this, there may be a larger discussion whether individuals who are regarded as ‘monsters’ deserve love.
(Amidst the blood and gore, there is a surreal romanticism in this coming-of-age film. Of course there is also Timothée Chalamet's beautiful mane of hair which the camera loves so much.)
Review by John Li