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Bones and All
An Absolute Gutpunch of a Romantic Cannibal Drama

Bones and All

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

Disclaimer: My thoughts on are based on the content of this work of fiction and do not support nor condone the act of cannibalism

A teenage girl battling cannibalistic urges goes on a cross-country trip to locate her birth mother in Bones and All. Maren Yearly () is a teenager whose cannibalistic desires result in her being repeatedly on the move with her father (). However, as soon as Maren turns 18, her father abandons her, leaving only a tape recording explaining everything and a copy of her birth certificate, pointing to her mother's hometown in Minnesota. On the way to find her mother, Maren comes across fellow “Eater” Sully (), who takes her under his wing. However, Maren is disturbed by Sully's behaviour and heads off on her own before she meets and joins up with Lee (), an Eater with his own set of problems.

Bones and All Synopsis

Bones and All is a horror-laced romantic drama directed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name, Suspiria), based on the 2015 novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis. The protagonist Maren has been plagued with cannibalistic urges since she was three years old, leading her father to abandon her once she turned of age. Maren decides to seek out her estranged mother, Janelle Kerns (), whom she never knew. Along the way, Maren meets more of her kind, including the unsettling Sully and drifter Lee, whom Maren starts to develop feelings for. With the urge to eat getting more robust over time, Maren and Lee wonder if it would be possible for them to have an everyday life.

My Thoughts on Bones and All

Undoubtedly, the cannibalism aspects of Bones and All are sure to turn off some viewers, with the film having a few gruesome and gory moments. Thankfully, most of the actual people eating are depicted off-camera. However, this aspect of the film eventually takes a backseat to the growing romance between Maren and Lee, who at one point decide to try and have a relatively normal life together.

While Bones and All doesn't normalize cannibalism, it does try to strike a divide between those who have to eat people to survive and those who choose to do it. This comes to play in a scene where Lee and Maren come into contact with fellow Eaters Jake (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Brad (David Gordon Green), the conversation with whom takes a decidedly dark turn. Then there's Mark Rylance as Sully, who remains an ambiguous character throughout the film regarding his motivations with Maren.

All this leads towards a gut punch of an ending, which helps to make Bones and All a way more affecting film than it appears on the outside. Neither Maren nor Lee chose their cannibalistic life, and it is this aspect of themselves that prevents this budding couple from genuinely living happily ever after.

Trailer for Bones and All

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.