Food for thought: Solace in ‘Bones and All’

Cannibal horror-romance film depicts identity and isolation

Eunice Rodriguez, Contributor

Rating: 4 stars

Warning: This article contains spoilers

“Bones and All” beautifully and unsettlingly portrays trials in life, such as identity and isolation, hidden in a gory, heart-wrenching love story. “Bones and All” is an adaptation of Camille DeAngelis’ novel directed by Luca Guadagnino, starring Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet. Since the film, many are recognizing up-and-coming actor Russell and her talents alongside Chalamet, as this is his first horror-romance film. Although centered around cannibalism, the cast and Gudagnino do a phenomenal job of immersing viewers and illustrating isolation and identity in this body horror, road trip adaptation. 

The film opens with the main character Maren, played by Russell, at a sleepover with her friends from her new school. Things take an unexpected turn when Maren gives in to her hunger and bites off one of the girls’ ring fingers, causing hysteria. Maren flees from the sleepover to her home, and her father opens the door, knowing all too well what his daughter has done. They begin their escape to another town, sticking to a previously determined, meticulous plan. We then learn that this has not been Maren’s first time eating another human. 

They settle into their new home, and when morning comes, Maren wakes up to her father gone. All that is left is money, a map, a tape and her birth certificate. It is her eighteenth birthday. Her father was counting the days until he no longer had to deal with her. Maren has become completely abandoned for the same reason her mother left her as a child being an “eater.”

Maren is alone, lost and sees herself as a monster stuck in an “eater” lifestyle she did not choose or want. So, she sets out to find her mother and listens to her father’s tape in hopes of getting some answers about who she is. Along the way, Maren meets Lee, played by Chalamet, and discovers he too is an “eater” upon seeing him covered in blood from mouth to toe. They begin traveling together, come across various other “eaters,” kill together and fall in love. We also learn more about Lee and the similar struggles of identity and isolation he faces, such as his sexuality, gender expression, abuse by his father and being exiled by his mother. In the end, Maren and Lee’s love extends beyond what they thought they were worthy of, and they are able to find themselves through one another; however, their journey ends as a forbidden love story. 

If you are a fan of Chalamet and his work, this is another great film by him. Russell shines and you can see her natural talent seep through the screen. A great film for lovers of horror and romance. “Bones and All” was released on Nov. 18, 2022, and Guadagnino did a remarkable job having viewers find solace in these characters and film through stunning cinematography, storytelling and casting.