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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

‘Bones and All’ is a treat


Luca Guadagnino, director of the films “Call Me By Your Name” and “Suspiria,” brought his newest project to the big screen on Nov. 18, titled “Bones and All,” an adaptation of the novel by Camille Deangelis.

“Bones and All” follows Maren Yearly, played by Taylor Russell, a 17-year-old cannibal in the 1980s who finds herself on her own after her father, played by Andre Holland, abandons her due to his lack of control over her condition. He leaves her a tape that describes her past with this tendency and leaves her mother’s birth certificate. 

 Yearly embarks on a cross-country road trip, encountering other cannibals along the way, learning about the community and slowly understanding what has made her the way she is. Most of this growth is achieved alongside Lee, played by heartthrob Timothee Chalamet, another young cannibal who has found his way in the world fending for himself and assists Yearly in her journey of self-discovery. 

The pair develop a promising young romance through their shared trait. As Lee helps Yearly stay alive on the road, Yearly learns about Lee and his past which helps her understand how much control, or lack thereof, she has against her cannibalistic tendencies. 

Guadagnino creates a stunning and immersive world just as he did in “Call Me By Your Name.” The soundtrack lends to the time, using some famous songs of the 80s, alongside a thrilling sound design. The film also portrays the vast space and distinct sights of midwestern America in an engaging and beautiful way. The colors and cinematography feel distinctly like other works of Guadagnino, with stunning visual shots of nature and unique camera choices. 

The film made many cinematography choices that created a nostalgic filming style. The visual pattern felt reminiscent of many 80s filming techniques. One of these choices is the use of the distance between the actors and the camera. Several times, the camera was placed further away from the actors, even outside of where the characters are located. While the audience would not be able to hear the direct dialogue of the actors, you could see how the events truly play out. These scenes also utilized a slow zoom-in, reminding us that just because the audience is omniscient to these characters’ struggles, no one else in the movie’s universe is.

The movie has gained a lot of attention as the film was portrayed in many different genres in promotional material. One of the biggest criticisms leading up to the film’s release was its lack of a clear genre, with audiences not knowing whether they were seeing a thriller, a horror, or a romance; there was a great deal of shock and confusion in the theater. Moviegoers gasped at the surprising amount of gore the movie depicted, especially in the first portion of the film.

Despite the shock factor, horror is probably the least accurate genre that has been attributed to the movie by both viewers and critics. Although both Lee and Yearly are serial cannibals, the movie is not focused on their killings. The film subverts audience expectations consistently, making it hard to predict what the leads will do in each situation they are faced with. This uneasy feeling throughout the movie is well done but does not emulate the anxiety accompanied by horror films. 

In the grand scheme of the story, “Bones and All” is fundamentally a coming-of-age romance more than any other attributed genre. Lee and Maren are simply two young people trying to cope with and accept themselves for who they are. It’s through their acceptance of one another that they can see beyond their cannibal selves and begin to move past it in order to aspire to something greater. The thrilling aspects of the movie enhance the cannibalism scenes but never take away from the emotional acting performances of the whole cast.

The love and affection shared by the two leads is a testament to the skill of actors Russell and Chalamet, who both had career-defining performances. Chalamet proves time and time again his acting range and talent, and this performance was no different. Russell’s career in recent years has been defined by memorable performances, but none as engaging as her Yearly. This talented duo made this movie an interesting and successful exploration of combining genres to create a new and unique viewing experience. This movie is a must-see for its new take on classic young love and heartbreak. 

“Bones and All” is currently only in theaters and the studio has not announced any plans to bring it to streaming services any time soon, so catch this genre-redefining film while you can.

Follow Julia on Twitter @julia_capraro

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About the Contributor
Julia Capraro, Editor-at-Large | she/her
Julia is a sophomore broadcast journalism and psychology major from Canton, Massachusetts. In addition to writing for the journal, she is President of Suffolk Visual Arts Club. She loves cooking, crochet and reading in her free time.

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‘Bones and All’ is a treat