This review is part of our coverage of the New York Film Festival 2022.
The tone: There’s something a little off about Maren (Taylor Russell): When we first meet her, she seems like an ordinary teenager trying to finish high school and fit in with her new surroundings. But it’s not long before a sleepover meet-you (and a torn off ring finger) reveals her for who she is: an “eater,” someone with an insatiable need to consume human flesh.
Fed up with the constant moves and the pressure of caring for such a dangerous girl, her father (André Holland) abandons her one morning, leaving behind only her birth certificate and a cassette tape recounting their first years together. The rest of her, as he narrates, is up to her.
Thus begins his odyssey to locate his long-missing mother and understand her nature, sending her across the Great Plains and the path of other eaters. Some are veteran statesmen (like Mark Rylance’s eccentric Sully) who follow rules like “never eat a diner” and braid their victims’ hair to remember them.
But others, like the rakish and scruffy Lee (Timothée Chamalet), feel like junkies, driven by the smell of new meat, unable to resist their urges. Soon enough, she enters an idiosyncratic bond with Lee, the two learning to live and eat lunch together while discovering if there is more to existence than their search for the next meal.
Candid me by your name: Of many ways, bones and all feels like the fusion of Luca Guadagnino’s two main modes as a filmmaker: there is the sumptuous and melancholic romance of call me by your name (a film that ironically co-stars an actor accused of cannibalism) mixed with the blood-soaked horror of his 2018 sighed Redo. (David Kajganich, who adapts the Camille DeAngelis novel, also wrote the screenplay for that film.) But the two moods feel especially sympathetic here, resulting in an oddly sweet alchemy, presumably a bit coppery too, because of all the gore. love and murder
let’s compare with We stopped Y Bonnie and Clyde they abound, and they’re not that far off, with their tale of lovers who sidestep human morality and forge their own sense of paradise between them. It helps that the central couple are wickedly attractive, Russell’s cool and glamorous nonchalance (akin to his stellar work in waves) vibrating together with the unbalanced opportunist of Chalamet.
Both are running from horrible pasts, leaning on each other in times of need, discovering the world and themselves together, one meal at a time. As they spend more time together, they serve as leveling forces, like any good relationship: Lee gives Maren a sense of purpose, while Maren gives Lee the space to be vulnerable. It’s enough to make you want to watch these two kids pull it off, even as you’re terrified of the next consequence that may be right around the corner.