Film Updates’s review published on Letterboxd:
Featuring what will surely be a starmaking turn from Taylor Russell and another impressive performance from Timothée Chalamet, Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All is a haunting, searing rumination on love, life and humanity.
When Luca Guadagnino announced that his next film would be Bones and All, a movie centered on a romance between two cannibals, many people were confused by the film’s subject matter and understandably concerned; how could you depict a romance between cannibals without venturing into schlock-horror territory?
But they shouldn’t have been. Bones and All is a near perfect film and one of Guadagnino’s best, mixing the horror elements of his Suspiria remake with the dreamy aesthetic of Call Me By Your Name to create a cinematic experience that defies genre and traditions, creating something entirely unique and unforgettable in the process.
Bones and All centers on Maren (Taylor Russell), a teenage girl with the inexplicable urge to consume human flesh. One day, after an unfortunate incident involving a high school friend, Maren and her father (André Holland) must pack up their bags and leave town. Maren wakes up the following day to find that her father has abandoned her, leaving her to her own devices. She then sets off on a journey to find her longlost mother, where she runs into Lee (Timothée Chalamet), a fellow cannibal who decides to help her find her way.
Russell, who is in almost every frame of the film, delivers a stunning turn as the lost and bereaved Maren. Sullen and forlorn, Maren is not a woman of many words but Russell manages to imbue her performance with enough pathos to give her depth far beyond what may be on the pages of the script. A standout in 2019’s Waves thanks to a devastating performance that was criminally underrated, Russell will be overlooked no longer thanks to what will surely be a starmaking turn for her.
Chalamet has consistently delivered a series of incredible performances throughout his still relatively young career, and his performance in Bones and All is no exception. As the haunted and guilt-ridden Lee, he shows a side of himself we’ve rarely seen before. It is his most restrained performance to date but also one of his best. Mark Rylance hams it up as the closest thing the film has to a villain, a fellow cannibal who is infatuated with Maren, while André Holland, Michael Stuhlbarg, Anna Cobb, Jessica Harper and Chloë Sevigny deliver slight but effective performances in bit parts that serve to drive Maren and Lee’s stories forward.
Bones and All is Guadagnino’s warmest, most passionate film so far, a haunting, searing and soulful rumination on life, love and humanity that will stay with viewers far after the credits roll.