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2022 film by Luca Guadagnino

Bones and All

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Screenplay by David Kajganich
Based on Bones & All
by Camille DeAngelis
Produced by
  • Luca Guadagnino
  • Theresa Park
  • Marco Morabito
  • David Kajganich
  • Francesco Melzi d’Eril
  • Lorenzo Mieli
  • Gabriele Moratti
  • Peter Spears
  • Timothée Chalamet
Starring
  • Taylor Russell
  • Timothée Chalamet
  • Mark Rylance
Cinematography Arseni Khachaturan
Edited by Marco Costa
Music by
  • Trent Reznor
  • Atticus Ross
Production
companies
  • Frenesy Film Company
  • Per Capita Productions
  • The Apartment Pictures
  • Memo Films
  • 3 Marys Entertainment
  • Elafilm
  • Tenderstories
Distributed by
  • Vision Distribution (Italy)
  • United Artists Releasing (through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; United States)
  • Warner Bros Pictures (International)
Release dates
  • September 2, 2022 (2022-09-02) (Venice)
  • November 18, 2022 (2022-11-18) (United States)
Running time
130 minutes
Countries
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Italy
Language English
Budget $16–20 million
Box office $11 million

Bones and All is a 2022 period romantic road horror film directed by Luca Guadagnino from a screenplay by David Kajganich, based on the 2015 novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis It features an ensemble cast that includes Taylor Russell, Timothée Chalamet, Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, André Holland, Chloë Sevigny, Jake Horowitz, David Gordon Green, and Jessica Harper The story follows a pair of young cannibalistic lovers who flee together on a road trip across the country

Bones and All had its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2022, where it won the Silver Lion for best direction It was theatrically released in the United States on November 18, 2022, by United Artists Releasing (through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), and elsewhere by Warner Bros Pictures, with the exception of Italy, where it was distributed by Vision Distribution The film received generally positive reviews, with critics praising the lead performances, direction, cinematography, and fusion of genres

Plot

In 1980s Virginia, teenager Maren Yearly sneaks out of her home to attend a sleepover with friends Acting on a cannibalistic impulse, she bites one of the girls’ fingers before running back home Her single father, Frank, swiftly forces her to relocate with him to Maryland Shortly after Maren’s eighteenth birthday, Frank abandons Maren to fend for herself, leaving behind a small sum of cash, her birth certificate, and a tape recording On the tape, Frank recounts the story of Maren’s first cannibalistic episode, when she killed and partially ate her babysitter at three years old Maren has no memories of her mother, Janelle, who abandoned her when she was an infant

Maren takes a bus to Ohio, where she encounters Sully, an eccentric elderly man who informs her that he too is an “eater,” and that he found her by scent He tells Maren that, as she ages, her need to devour human flesh will become increasingly necessary to stay alive She follows Sully to a house that is owned by an elderly woman, who is dying in an upstairs bedroom She awakens in the morning to find Sully devouring the old woman, and joins him to satiate her hunger Sully is determined to bring Maren under his wing, but she rejects him

While drifting aimlessly through Indiana, Maren meets Lee, a young man who is also an eater, and the two decide to travel together At a swimming hole, they encounter what appears to be a pair of other eaters, Jake and Brad, until Brad admits that he was not born an eater and voluntarily chooses to engage in cannibalism Maren is revolted by his choice, so she and Lee depart

The two briefly stay in Lee’s home town in Kentucky Lee’s sister Kayla, who is unaware of Lee’s true nature, chastises him for his constant departures and unannounced returns The couple visit a carnival where Lee cruises a male carnival worker for sex Lee gives the man a handjob in a cornfield before slitting his throat, after which he and Maren feast on his body Maren is then deeply conflicted when she discovers that the man was married and had a family

At Maren’s suggestion, the two embark on a road trip to Minnesota, hoping to find Janelle Using a phone book directory, Maren visits the home of her grandmother, Barbara, who is shocked to learn that she has a granddaughter Barbara initially tells Maren that Janelle is dead, but recants when Maren inquires about whether or not Janelle ever hurt anyone as a child Barbara confesses that she adopted Janelle at birth, and that Janelle voluntarily admitted herself to a psychiatric hospital in Fergus Falls years prior

Maren and Lee travel to the psychiatric hospital Maren meets with Janelle, and is shocked to see that Janelle has cannibalized her own hands Maren reads a letter that Janelle wrote shortly after her admission to the hospital, and which concludes with Janelle’s belief that Maren would be better off dead than living as an eater Janelle attacks and tries to eat Maren, but is restrained by a nurse Disgusted at what her life has come to, Maren subsequently abandons both her mother and Lee before again encountering Sully, who she discovers has been stalking her She rebukes him again, and he leaves angrily

Maren eventually returns to Lee and the couple decides to travel westward, living on the road While camping out in Nebraska, Lee recounts to Maren how he was forced to kill his abusive father, also an eater, rather than allow himself and Kayla to suffer further abuse He breaks down weeping as he confesses to having eaten his father’s body The pair decide to suppress their cannibalistic urges and attempt to live a normal life for as long as possible

After several months, they are living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Maren has taken a job at a bookstore She returns home one day to find Sully has broken into their apartment, and he taunts her with a knife Lee returns, and the two manage to murder Sully, but Lee is gravely wounded in the struggle In Sully’s satchel, Maren finds locks of Kayla’s hair—souvenirs that Sully keeps of each person he has eaten—revealing that Kayla has fallen victim to Sully Rather than seek medical help, Lee’s dying wish is for Maren to eat him, “bones and all”

Cast

  • Taylor Russell as Maren Yearly
  • Timothée Chalamet as Lee
  • Mark Rylance as Sully
  • Michael Stuhlbarg as Jake
  • André Holland as Leonard Yearly, Maren’s father
  • Chloë Sevigny as Janelle Kerns, Maren’s mother
  • David Gordon Green as Brad
  • Jessica Harper as Barbara Kerns, Maren’s grandmother
  • Jake Horowitz, as Lance, a guy who works at the fair, whom Lee picks up
  • Anna Cobb as Kayla, Lee’s sister
  • Kendle Coffey as Sherry

Production

On April 8, 2019, it was announced that David Kajganich would adapt Camille DeAngelis’s 2015 novel Bones & All for the screen, and that the film would be directed by Antonio Campos On January 28, 2021, it was announced that Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell will star in the film, now to be directed by Luca Guadagnino Chalamet is also a producer on the film Filming began in May, by which time Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, André Holland, Jessica Harper, Chloë Sevigny, Francesca Scorsese, and David Gordon Green had joined the cast Shooting took place in Chillicothe, Ohio and Cincinnati, Ohio, which makes it Guadagnino’s first film set and made in the United States Production was affected by break-ins that occurred for some of the crew’s cars, leading to a request being submitted to Cincinnati City Council in late June to provide $50,000 for increased security While there was some criticism over the proposed use of taxpayer funds for a private enterprise, City Council ultimately passed a measure to grant the funds Filming wrapped in July 2021

Guadagnino said that Bones and All is “a very romantic story, about the impossibility of love and yet, the need for it Even in extreme circumstances” He also said that Chalamet and Russell have “a gleaming power” and are able to “portray universal feelings” The film’s score was composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Marketing

The first teaser for Bones and All was released on August 10, 2022 American artist Elizabeth Peyton was commissioned by director Luca Guadagnino to create a painting based on the film The resulting painting, which she titled “Kiss (Bones and All)”, was turned into the film’s first poster, which was on display during the Venice International Film Festival, hanging on the 13th-century palace Ca’ da Mosto in Venice

The official poster for the film was released on September 29, 2022, accompanied by its first trailer, which featured a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker” The song was chosen by lead actor Timothée Chalamet Safeeyah Kazi of Collider called the trailer “chilling” and “intense” Toussaint Egan of Polygon noted similarities to 1994’s crime thriller Natural Born Killers Allegra Frank of The Daily Beast called it “gorgeously bloody”, and praised it for not sharing too much information Lauren Milici of Total Film described the trailer as Let The Right One In meets Bonnie and Clyde” An extended trailer was released on October 5, 2022

Release

Bones and All had its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2022, followed by screenings at the 60th New York Film Festival, 17th Fantastic Fest, 49th Telluride Film Festival, 2022 AFI Fest and 2022 BFI London Film Festival It had a limited theatrical release beginning on November 18, 2022, before opening wide on November 23

It is the first film to be acquired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and United Artists Releasing following its merger deal with Amazon on March 17, 2022 Vision Distribution will release the film in Italy, while Warner Bros Pictures will handle all other international territories under a new multi-year pact with MGM beginning with this film

Reception

Box office

In its limited opening weekend, Bones and All grossed $120,000 from five theaters The film expanded alongside Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Strange World, Devotion, and the wide expansion of The Fabelmans, and is projected to gross around $7–9 million from 2,700 theaters over its five-day opening weekend It made $921,000 on its first day, including $345,000 from Tuesday night previews

The film debuted first at the Italian box office, grossing a total of €109036 (USD$113,643)

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 85% of 165 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 77/10 The website’s consensus reads, “Although its subject matter may be hard to stomach, Bones and All proves a deeply romantic and thought-provoking treat” Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 72 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews” Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “B” on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 71%, including an average three out of five stars

Reviewing the film following its premiere at Venice, where it received a 10-minute standing ovation, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian called it an “extravagant and outrageous movie: scary, nasty and startling in its warped romantic idealism” and gave the film a perfect rating of 5-stars Stephanie Zacharek, in her review for Time, wrote “Bones and All is fastidiously romantic It’s so carefully made, and so lovely to look at, even at its grisliest”, praising the direction and cast performances, particularly Russell’s Both Taylor Russell and Timothee Chalamet have received acclaim for their performances with critics praising their chemistry together Bloody Disgusting calling the duo “profound” and “touching and genuine” The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney also praised the duo adding their performances are “unforced and underplayed to subtly stirring effect” Going on to call the film “strangely affecting, even poetic” and commending the direction, cast performances, and cinematography

Leila Latif in her review for IndieWire wrote, “Bones & All is fundamentally a beautifully realized and devastating, tragic romance which at multiple moments would have Chekhov himself weeping as the trigger is pulled” Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair called it an “alternately plodding and engrossing YA road movie” praising the cast performances, but ultimately found the film unsatisfactory, writing “Bones and All has its merits, but the film is only a decent side dish at the feast of Guadagnino” Writing for Sight & Sound, John Bleasdale described it as “wryly funny, gleefully entertaining and oddly touching” and praised the direction, cinematography, score, and cast performances Comparing it to Call Me by Your Name, Selina Sondermann wrote ” like two sides of the same coin – both cunningly display the love we find for ourselves when we are allowed to truly love another person, bones and all ”

“There’s real pleasure in Bones and All, an insistent sweetness that somehow both nourishes and cleanses away the horror” wrote Justin Chang in his review for the Los Angeles Times Clint Worthington Flow of Consequence described the film as “an oddly sweet — presumably a little coppery, too, due to all the blood — alchemy of love and murder” and compared it to Badlands (1973) and Bonnie and Clyde (1967), with their tales of “lovers skirting human morality and forging their own sense of paradise with each other” In one unenthusiastic review for Slant, Keith Uhlich criticized the screenplay, direction, and cast performances, concluding: “Straining to be a YA spin on Trouble Every Day, Bones and All barely eclipses Twilight

Accolades

Accolades for Bones and All
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref
Venice Film Festival September 10, 2022 Golden Lion Luca Guadagnino Nominated
Silver Lion for Best Director Won
Marcello Mastroianni Award Taylor Russell Won
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 16, 2022 Best Original Song in a Feature Film Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“(You Made it Feel Like) Home”) Nominated
Gotham Independent Film Awards November 28, 2022 Outstanding Lead Performance Taylor Russell Pending
Outstanding Supporting Performance Mark Rylance Pending
Independent Spirit Awards March 4, 2023 Best Feature Timothée Chalamet, Francesco Melzi d’Eril, Luca Guadagnino, David Kajganich, Lorenzo Mieli, Marco Morabito, Gabriele Moratti, Theresa Park, Peter Spears Pending
Best Lead Performance Taylor Russell Pending
Best Supporting Performance Mark Rylance Pending

See also

  • List of Italian films of 2022

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