Film review: Bones and all” by Luca Guadagnino

Bones and all (the bones and all the rest): vast program for this cannibal romance signed Luca GuadagninoItalian director to whom we owe Call me by your name, released in 2017, which recounted the budding love and awakening to sexuality of a young man during a summer in Italy. Surprisingly, this film brought together Timothée Chalamet and the American actor Armie Hammer, now persona non grata in Hollywood because he would have abused his companions with, in particular, cannibalistic tendencies… more uncomfortable, because the film itself, despite its title, is quite harmless.

At the edge of Bones and all, there is a young girl, Maren, who lives with her father in a mobile home in a remote town in the United States. We are at the end of the 80s, she goes to high school; one evening, she goes to the wall to join her friends who are having a pajama party, so far so good, the girls chat, try different shades of nail polish, get closer, until Maren grabs her finger. one of them to immediately devour him to the bone. From there, Maren finds herself on her own, forced to flee, with an idea in mind: to find a mother she has never known, and who, she imagines, could explain to her how she is special.

2 min

This beginning is quite striking. He plays on the known codes of American teen movie and horror film, a mixture that works rather well, and which replays a story with well-oiled mechanics: mixing the supernatural, horror and the discovery of sexuality – that made the butter in particular of the franchise Twilight, except that Guadagnino deploys the romance in an “auteurist” form typical of an American indie cinema. Very quickly the teen movie disappears, and the film takes the form of a road trip whose hero is ultimately not so much the young Maren played by the very young and lovely Taylor Russel, as her companion, played by Timothée Chalamet, while bones and orange mane, which interests one feels it much more Guadagnino.

Too pretty

Basically, the film replays the same thing as the previous one. In Call me by your name the hero discovered in a complicated way, at the same time cruel, soft and exciting his homosexuality near another man, but also that of his own father. In Bones and all the discovery of love passes through another community and another heritage, that of the “eaters”, the eaters of men, whose specificity is transmitted from parent to child. Forced to live alone for the most part, they roam the deserted roads of an America like a magician, sometimes a somewhat clumsy metaphor for sexual marginality. The problem is that you get bored quickly, first because this love story, unlike the one his previous film described to us, struggles to move or excite, for lack of incarnation. We don’t believe in this couple, and besides, the only slightly interesting sex scene is a scene outside of them that takes place between two men in a cornfield at night. Moreover, the slightly sophisticated and smooth side of Guadagnino’s cinema, which I quite like, moreover, neutralizes the horrific aspect most of the time, and compromises one of the major interests of the film: the scenes where people are eating people. It’s never dirty, nor creepy, and the dried blood on Chalamet’s fingernails can’t make us forget that he’s above all handsome, even for his little companion. In turn, the disinherited America that he shows us with its rotten houses, its gas stations and its shabby carnivals make a pretty setting, too pretty to be frightened or disgusted. A character, however, adds a bit of darkness and anxiety to the picture, played by this brilliant actor, Mark Rylance (who we see regularly at Spielberg). He portrays a half-Reservation Indian, half-Bavarian “eater”, who speaks of himself in the third person singular, holds himself strangely, and braids his victims’ hair into a long cord that he always keeps with him: he seems to be coming in the film of another cinema, which we would no doubt have preferred to see.

  • Bones and allby Luca Guadagnino, in theaters November 23, 2023

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Film review: Bones and all” by Luca Guadagnino