Photo: ‘Bones and All’
Italian film director, Luca Guadagnino, returns to work with Timothée Chalamet in the new film ‘Bones and All’. Building on the acclaim from his previous work with Chalamet, ‘Call Me By Your Name’, Guadagnino brings Taylor Russell on-screen with Chalamet in a more unorthodox romance than people are used to on and off screen. ‘Bones and All’ tells the story of Russell’s character, Maren, who sets off on a journey with Lee, played by Chalamet, across the backroads of America to flee their crimes and find more information about their heinous nature.
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Having just eaten the finger off of another girl at a sleepover, Maren discovers the harsh truth about her innate yearning to feast on human flesh, bones and all. Uncovering the truth of her anti-social nature, Maren is abandoned by her father shortly after and travels to Ohio. There, she meets Lee, another person that possesses the same cannibalistic impulses as she does. Together, the Bonnie and Clyde rebel duo set off on a road trip to Minnesota to find Janelle, Maren’s mother who abandoned her as an infant.
‘Bones and All’- Can Cannibalism be Romantic?
Guadagnino brings the complex and clever screenplay by David Kajganich (adapted from the novel of the same title by Camille DeAngelis) to life which creates the unique genre blend of romance and horror. As cannibalism is a necessity for life to the characters in the film, Guadagnino does not hide away from the repulsive energy but saves it for moments of character growth. It is a difficult morale for the viewer. The protagonist is easy to empathize with, and the young lovers-on-the-run trope is a great premise to get the audience to root for the romance, but it is difficult to root for characters who have to perform an activity so taboo. Nevertheless, a lot of viewers speculate that cannibalism in the film is hyperbolic symbolism to other unfavored or unorthodox life paths.
That being said, it is hard to get over the blood-covered faces of the lovers knowing their habits. It is a great romance story told in the wider picture of a couple who found love in their mutual flaws, but when the flaw consists of taking the Bonnie-and-Clyde-ism to the next grosser step, it really tests the viewer’s ability to overlook their big imperfection. Luckily, the film does not fall into the hints of romanticizing cannibalism as did Netflix’s Dahmer series. The differences being that the Dahmer series was based on a real racist serial killer and cannibal that sympathized with Dahmer’s relationships with his very real victims and that ‘Bones and All’ is a fictional piece that (hopefully) has no influence to make somebody convert to cannibalism just because a character that Timothée Chalamet plays is a cannibal.
Honestly, cannibalism is too condemned and taboo in real life for ‘Bones and All’ to be depicted as romanticizing cannibalism, and the issue with the Dahmer series was not that they showed Dahmer eating the victims, it was how they made Jeffrey Dahmer seem like a relatable and emotional person to be cared for despite the real-life crimes he committed and many families he has personally affected.
Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell Give One of the Best Performances in Their Careers
Timothée Chalamet is one of the top rising stars of Hollywood today. In his breakout role in Luca Guadagnino’s ‘Call Me By Your Name’, Chalamet has landed himself a stable career solidifying his casting in more big-budget movies like ‘Dune’, which won six awards at the 2022 Oscars, and ‘Wonka’, an upcoming fantasy musical film that acts as the prequel to ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. With Chalamet’s time in these large-scale films, it is nice to see him return to a lower-budget film. Chalamet plays the young enigmatic lover role well. Reprising his ‘Call Me By Your Name’ romance energy back but in a more cool boy cannibal way and not shy closeted teenager way. His chemistry with Russell is astounding and shockingly makes cannibal love something entertaining to watch, which makes ‘Bones and All’ a flick to add to Chalamet’s list of films reinforcing that he is one of the truly great movie stars of today’s time who does not have to rely on being a superhero to grow his fame.
Taylor Russell, having played the protagonist in both ‘Escape Room’ and ‘Escape Room: Tournament of Champions’, has yet to get her name onto many high-grossing critically-acclaimed pieces of Cinema, as these films are not deemed to be masterpieces. Russell has shown her true acting beauty in some hidden gems like ‘Waves’, a romance film directed by Trey Edward Shults, but ‘Bones and All’ will be a great addition to her list of projects that really show off her abilities. Like Chalamet, Russell shined being cast again into a more lowkey film like this one. It seems that could have been a motive for casting Russell and Chalamet.
Given they both have experience acting in lower-budget romance films, maybe the casting team deliberated carefully on who was able to bring the love of two cannibals to the screen in this more humble project. Russell really gave her all and pushed herself into falling perfectly into Maren. Not an instance in the film does her believability seem off and it truly brings the audience through the rollercoaster of a character that Russell created in Maren. Her comfortability with Chalamet and their ability to perform as such gruesome characters infatuated with each other is impressive and a must-see for those that are suckers for young talent.
‘Bones and All’ is now available to watch in theaters.
By Nino Vongphachanh
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