It’s hard to imagine a film about cannibalism being one of the most romantic cinematic experiences in recent memory, but that is exactly what Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All is. With no shortage of gore and disturbing ideologies, the film manages to bleed its heart out in a viciously affecting ode to love. It features a thoughtful deposition on those who are forced to live in isolation due to societal norms and supplants this narrative with a romance that doesn’t necessarily conquer but certainly flourishes above all. Guadagnino et al. have simply outdone themselves.

We’re first introduced to Maren (Taylor Russell), a wayward teenager who lives a sheltered and quiet life with her overly protective father (André Holland). It soon becomes clear that the reason for this sheltering stems from Maren’s uncontrollable thirst for consuming human flesh. After a particularly brutal incident, Maren is left on her own and begins traversing the country in hopes of discovering her past through a search of her birth mother. Along the way, she meets and falls in love with Lee (Timothée Chalamet), who also happens to share this innate desire for human meat. The film also features strong supporting performances by Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg and Chloë Sevigny.

A Film Oddly Basted With Love

What’s remarkable about Bones and All is how powerful its proclamation of love is, despite being a film that’s riddled with characters and events imbued with darkness. The contrast between Maren and Lee’s relationship and everything else around them (including their own cannibalistic instincts) only strengthens their romantic bond. This is truly a story about love — both how love can drive us to do certain things, but also push us into not doing certain things. And although some scenes might veer from this idea of love, more thoughtful consideration will suggest otherwise.

Venice International Film Festival 2022: BONES AND ALL
Bones and All (2022) – source: MGM/United Artists Releasing

Both Russell and Chalamet shine in their roles as the film’s romantic leads and really serve as its emotional anchors. Although Guadagnino utilizes elements of deranged horror as part of his world-building, the film’s focus on love comes right back thanks to their strong performances. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score is also instrumental in weaving between shades of dark and light. The score isn’t overbearing or manipulative in its romantic notes but creates just the right amount of tenderness that builds nicely toward the film’s climatic third act. Arseni Khachaturan’s vastly isolating cinematography is also intuitively romantic when it needs to be.

A Masterful Depiction Of Isolation and Marginalization

Based on a novel by Camille DeAngelis, the main narrative really uses cannibalism as a vehicle to explore the marginalization of society. Specifically, the marginalization of those who are born with or into circumstances not under their own control. All throughout her life, Maren, who serves as the film’s main narrative voice, has been told to repress her true self, and this essentially becomes the normative perspective in the film. But as her worldview evolves, she understands the imperfect rules of society that punish those who both repress or celebrate their true identities openly.

Venice International Film Festival 2022: BONES AND ALL

Bones and All (2022) – source: MGM/United Artists Releasing

Guadagnino punctuates this idea by clearly depicting emotions for what they are, regardless of how a character or event is serving the overall narrative. Even within the marginalized (which in this case, are the cannibal characters), evil is evil, and love is love. His balanced depiction of both good and bad only bolsters the film’s commentary by reminding everyone that we live in an imperfect world. One that is often unfair and unjust, but not void of hope, even if a conventional happy ending isn’t exactly attainable.


There’s no question that Guadagnino is an immensely talented filmmaker, and this film is just another reminder that his talents have no bounds. On paper, Bones and All really shouldn’t be such a monumental statement on the beautiful powers of love, but through his creative lens, the statement becomes more than monumental. The film swept me off my feet in its ability to blend seemingly opposing motifs and create such a perfect union of emotions. Love is never perfect, but Bones and All is certainly close to being perfect.

What do you think of Bones and All? Are you excited for the film? Comment below and let us know.

Bones and All premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 2, 2022, and will be released in theaters November 23.

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