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‘Bones and All’: Cannibalistic Commentary or Coming-of-Age Catharsis?

Bones and All is a killer (pun intended) new film with flawed but loveable leading characters, but should we give any credence to rumours about the story’s real-life influences?

Taylor Russell. Credit: MGM

Taylor Russell and Timothy Chalamet’s new vehicle is an intriguing take on the coming-of-age genre. The intrigue mostly stems from the fact that the film’s premise is inextricably linked to cannibalism.

Some have attached significance to this, but why?

Origins of Bones and All

There have been rumors surrounding Luca Guadagnino, the film’s director, choosing to focus on the theme of cannibalism. Guadagnino directed the 2017 critical and commercial hit Call Me By Your Name. This is significant because the film starred Bones and All’s Timothy Chalamet and Armie Hammer. Since the film’s release, Hammer has suffered something of a fall-from-grace. He has been accused, among other things, of committing rape and, importantly to the new film, sending fetishistic cannibalistic messages to a sexual partner. That Guadagnino has once again cast Hammer’s co-star from five years ago in a new film about the infamous issue that sunk Hammer’s career has, maybe understandably, cast suspicion in some quarters.

Guadagnino has, however, refuted any claim that the new film has been influenced by Hammer’s PR meltdown. Indeed, the director claims that the script was passed on by Antonio Campos. Only after this did the director become involved with the film. Indeed, the film has been in the works since the book the film is based on came out in 2015 under the stewardship of David Kajganich. It seems that the film’s topic is likely just a coincidence.

Mark Rylance in Bones and All. Credit: MGM

A Worthwhile Movie?

The film itself has been well received, with a great deal of praise for its writing, acting, and production. Chalamet puts in a strong performance in the film, but Taylor Russell and Mark Rylance provide standout performances in the film. Russell portrays her character’s internal conflict between the immorality of her hunger for human flesh and the insatiable desire she feels. Meanwhile, Rylance is a consistently unsettling and malevolent presence, exuding a creepiness that casts an uncomfortable shadow over the entire film.

Meanwhile, the film’s writing and direction are spectacular, with lushly shot by Guadagnino and Arseni Khachaturan. The film’s visual look seems informed by classic road trip movies like Terrence Malick’s Badlands. The vastness of the American landscape always lies ahead of the two young characters. It seems to provide a sense of hope and opportunity, something they both badly need. The film’s bittersweet nature makes it easy to love and engage with. Despite all of the noise surrounding the controversy, there is a very good film there. If one chooses to look beyond the distractions, of course.

Bones and All is in cinemas now.

Trailer. Credit: MGM
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