Courtesy of Yahoo!
Bones and All
I hadn’t heard anything about this film until I went to see it with a friend—my first time at the new-ish AMC Fashion District theater in Center City. This might’ve been because it didn’t sound like any movie I’d seen before.
Bones and All is directed by Luca Guadagnino, who also directed the movies Call Me By Your Name and The Protagonists. Set in the mid-1980s and based on the book by Camille DeAngelis, the movie centers around Maren, a young girl living with her father in a trailer park. She—along with many others—is what’s called an Eater, aka, a cannibal. Eaters are perceived as outcasts, but only because they choose to live that way. To the average person, an Eater is just a normal person.
If you think this movie involves watching people eat one another, you’re right. The whole movie is focused on the reality of the world, and how cutthroat it can be (he took this literally). The film is scattered with scenes of Maren and others eating other humans, and Guadagnino asks the audience to slowly desensitize themselves to the stigma that comes with cannibalism. I thought this was an incredibly interesting approach to a coming-of-age film. As the film went on, I didn’t know who to ally myself with, or if there is anyone I should be invested in at all. Every character’s backstory, especially Maren’s boyfriend, Lee, who we meet much later in the film. His life is rich with trauma. It is hard to find a reason to wish good things for Maren.
The choice to set this film in the midwest was great, because no one really thinks of traveling through endless farmland and corn fields, when there are much more interesting sights you could have characters see. But I feel that the land was a reflection of the feel of the movie; abandoned, left bare, a land that fades into the background, that we don’t want to see on screen, when the Pacific Coast is much more beautiful to look at.
Maren and Lee are much the same, character-wise: Maren is a timid girl who’s on her own, which no one really pays any mind to, while Lee is closed-off and trusts no one. They never really open up to each other, which is the cause of all of their quarrels, and the reason that Maren goes off on her own for a while. Their characters truly leave you wishing for the kind of normality that you would see in any other romantic film. However, this isn’t your average romance.
However, I don’t quite get the purpose of Sully’s character in the movie. He is the first other Eater that Maren encounters. First first introduced as an eccentric but compassionate old man, and acts almost as a mentor figure for Maren. He later takes the form of a myriad of other figures to help advance the plot—such as a desperate stalker yearning for some kind of companionship. Apart from a way to show Maren the dangers of trusting strangers and to make Lee the martyr Guadagnino pictures, I don’t see much point to him as a character.
The movie was truly a disturbing watch. However, I found myself unable to look away from any of it. The way Bones and All delivered the haunting warning of the (literal) dog-eat-dog world was the most disturbing, yet heartwarming way I’d seen yet. I would recommend this movie to anyone who’ll enjoy a dark, twisted story, both a teenage romance and a bloodbath.