Published on November 14th, 2022 | by Michael Newman0
Bones And All Is An New Genre Blending Classic
Young adult novels, which were once thought of as more innocent and cutesier have taken on a more serious tone over the past several years. Back in my day, I guess young adult novels would be the Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew books prior to turning into movies like the Twilight Saga or the Hunger Game franchise. That’s not to say darker more “adult” books didn’t exist in that genre, only that the popularity of such books seems to have risen over the years.
Bones and All has been referred to by many as “A cannibal love story” ditches the typical, misunderstood well being monster, in favor of a darker more moody approach. Based on the novel of the same name it features Maren (Taylor Russell), a young woman desperately attempting to understand her insatiable desire to consume human flesh. After what seems like an almost innocent (yet brutal) event that occurs at her high school friend’s house, she finds herself once again on the run and this time alone.
In an attempt to track down her mother, who she hopes can explain the condition that ails her, she comes across the very creepy Sully (Mark Rylance) who welcomes her in and explains to her that she is not the only “Eater” in the world. Feeling less alone, yet still uneasy with her new friend, Maren decides to go back on her own, still hoping to get some answers from the only relative she feels might have them. Not long after she departs from Sully, she encounters Lee (Timothee Chalamet) and the two star-crossed lovers set out on a journey that will change each of their lives forever.
Bones and All features an outstanding cast, perfectly selected to portray each of the roles. Taylor Russel’s portrayal of Maren stands to be an academy award nomination in the making. For such a young star, she brings a level of pain and believability to the screen, sucking the audience in, even in some of the most grotesque scenes. The perfect Ying to her Yang, Chalamet portrays the perfect bad boy with a heart, to compliment the naïve yet strong Russel. The two embody the whole Romeo and Juliet trope that hangs like a chandelier over the entire film.
I would be remiss if I also didn’t mention the outstanding portrayal of Sully by Mark Rylance. He gives a new meaning to the word “creepy”, and yet it’s still hard to not feel for him (at least a little). While there are other outstanding side characters, the three form the perfect trinity of monsters trying to find their place in the world.
I use the term “monsters” instead of the term “cannibals” that many of those before me have written about. While they refer to themselves as “Eaters”, they are far more than simply cannibals. Cannibals are driven by their affinity for human flesh, and while those exist in this world, to state that the “Eaters” are simply cannibals would be a disservice. While not possessing supernatural powers, or the ability to pass their infliction to others, they are driven by something more than a desire for human flesh.
Cinematography is some of the best in recent films. The late 80’s time frame, along with the ramshackle locations, only add to the sense of desperation and loss that weaves its way through the entire film. Abandoned buildings litter the landscape, along with beautiful locations that offer a glimpse of what peace might look like for these young lovers, if for only a fleeting second.
While the film isn’t perfect, its locations and outstanding portrayals carry it along for the entire ride. I felt that the movie couldn’t show all it wanted without its R rating, however targeting a young adult audience with that rating makes it more difficult unfortunately than it should be. While the target audience might be a bit more PG-13, I feel the movie was far better shooting for it’s R rating, then simply watering the content down to appeal to a larger audience. Besides, does anyone actually card kids for the movies these days? I don’t even know if “sneaking” into an R-rated film is a thing anymore (that just shows how old I am).
At the end of the day, this Romeo and Juliet horror film is simply one of the best of the year, and maybe the best of this genre in decades. It’s a film that takes itself seriously, which it should, and keeps any groan worthy events to a minimum.
4.5 out of 5 stars