Bones and All (2022)

A bit similar to his acclaimed 2017 film, Call Me by Your Name, with his latest film, Bones and All, director Luca Guadagnino tackles another forbidden love story. But this one requires, let’s just say…more of an acquired taste. Much like its French cousin, Raw, directed by Julia Ducournau, Bones and All aims to subvert the cannibal stereotype by sympathizing with and humanizing its flesh-eating lead characters. Starring Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet, Guadagnino combines elements of a coming-of-age story, a road movie, and a romantic drama to stitch together a tough, touching, and heartbreaking cannibal tragedy that will leave you a bit speechless by the end of it.

"requires, let’s just say…more of an acquired taste"

Set in the 80s, high school senior, Meran (Russell) and her father (André Holland) have a history of ditching town in a hurry. It’s not that they want to. It’s that they have to. For reasons unknown to Meran, she has an uncontrollable craving for human flesh. And after her last cannibal indulgence at a sleepover where she bites off one of her friend’s fingers, her father can no longer handle their volatile situation anymore. He leaves his 18-year-old daughter some money, her birth certificate, and a tape explaining some of the family’s past, including hints of her mother’s past cannibalistic nature. From there, she decides to travel across states to find her mother and hopefully get answers. And along the way, she somehow finds more people like her…or rather, they find her. Among other eccentric characters, she meets an intense and hardened Lee (Chalamet). And between them grows a fondness as he offers to accompany her to find her mother. With him, Meran learns how to survive and potentially embrace this unfamiliar way of life, but nothing about the murderous ways this life demands sits right with her.Bones and All (2022)

For the most part, Guadagnino lets the audience imagine the grossness and violence of the feedings. The sounds of flesh being torn off and chewed up makes the audience skin turn and face squeeze with disgust. And the short sequences that we do see the feedings are starkly raw and grody. But what is great about the director’s decisions about when and where to show the gore is that it never feels over-the-top or unnecessary. Every time he shows the act, it has a distinct and meaningful purpose for Meran and for the audience as well.

And speaking of Meran, the young Taylor Russell handles the delicateness and unsureness of her character beautifully. Meran does not fit into this life, and you can feel through Russell’s performance full of hesitations and reluctance. Both her and her partner, the already seasoned young actor, Chalamet, give performances that are brilliantly subtle and underplayed.

Everything about Bones and All screams a beautiful, poetic, and tragic romance. At many times it is hard to watch, but it is also a gorgeous film to looks at, capturing the sunset-filled skies of East Coast, South, and Midwest regions of America. It is also worth noting that the stunning portraits of the characters and the country are all backed by a haunting, bluesy, western-y score from the legendary duo of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross that is just a perfect vibe for the road movie element of this film.

I feel like this is a film that could have easily been made over-dramatic – and perhaps there are a few sequences that do leak into the classification - but with Guadagnino’s delicate hand, it doesn’t, and it is rather something that deeply affective and touching.

Bones and All is now playing in select theaters and Video on Demand.

4/5 stars

Film Details

Bones and All (2022)

MPAA Rating: R for strong, bloody and disturbing violent content, language throughout, some sexual content and brief graphic nudity.
131 mins
: Luca Guadagnino
David Kajganich
Timothée Chalamet; Taylor Russell; Mark Rylance
: Horror | Romance

Memorable Movie Quote: "When you eat the whole thing, bones and all. You ain't done that yet?"
Theatrical Distributor:
United Artists Releasing
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 18, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Maren, a young woman, learns how to survive on the margins of society.


Bones and All (2022)