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Bones and All revives an old love story in a bloody new way

The need to equate young love with doom and mortality probably goes back much further than Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet. It’s such a natural narrative pairing: first loves rarely last, and youth definitely doesn’t.

For most people, that fiery intensity of young love, the feeling of falling in love and discovery of “Everything is new and wonderful, and we’re the first people to experience sex,” is likely to wear off quickly. And for adults looking back on that era in their lives, the sense of loss and nostalgia can be similar to the emotions associated with navigating death. But the metaphor has rarely been as startlingly vivid as in the work of Luca Guadagnino. bones and alla bloody surprise that comes with many familiar horror movie elements, but feels much more like a classic roadside romance.

It’s a bizarre film, seemingly designed to confuse both fans of Guadagnino’s earlier horror-inflected feature, 2018’s messy giallo remake. sighsand fans of their sun-kissed 2017 gay romance Call me by your name. Weather bones and all ties those two movies together so neatly that it feels calculated, it also raises the question of how much audience crossover there might be between the two movies. Horror hounds may be disappointed by the amount of low-key relationship drama and the film’s coming-of-age story, with little tension and jump scares. Fans of the romantic drama are sure to see more gory eviscerations than they’re used to seeing in their movies. But for genre-agnostic moviegoers, the sheer boldness and uniqueness of the story, an adaptation of Camille DeAngelis’ 2015 novel of the same name for adults, will be a major part of the appeal.

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Lee (Timothée Chalamet), a young man with deep bags under his eyes and a shock of curly dyed red hair, drinks coffee and looks confrontationally at the camera in Bones and All.

Photo: Yannis Drakoulidis/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

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bones and all gathers Guadagnino and call me by your name stars Timothée Chalamet for a second love story. But Chalamet takes a while to break into the picture. Initially, the film focuses on Maren (Waves‘ Taylor Russell), a high school student with a number of secrets. Maren lives alone with her father (André Holland) in a dilapidated, dilapidated house. A sneaky sense of shame hangs over all the little details of her home and her interactions, but it takes a while for the movie to reveal why that’s true and what they’re both navigating. And when the reveals do come, they’re terrifying and exciting at the same time, partly because the details are so unexpected.

Other than going in prepared for massive amounts of gore and some brief, intense violence, bones and all it’s the kind of movie that’s better experienced in the moment than in the descriptions. Each new revelation about Maren’s past and present is carefully developed, in part because she doesn’t really understand her own nature and has to learn about it along with the audience. Screenwriter David Kajganich (writer, producer and developer of the beloved horror series The horror) never feels like he’s in a rush to get to a particular part of the story. He and Guadagnino make a lot of room for Maren to learn through conversations, first with her new acquaintance Sully (bridge of spiesMark Rylance, once again disappearing in an incredible performance), then with new acquaintance Lee (Chalamet), a world-wise boy his age.

Viewers who are not yet familiar with the fundamental premise of the film and want to experience it in theaters should stop reading here. The initial trailer and the summaries of the festival of bones and all They were coy about what makes Maren, Lee and others different, but public descriptions of the film have widely shared the secret: bones and allThe wide-eyed central couple are both “Eaters”, effectively ghouls driven to devour human flesh. Their victims do not have to be alive, but once they have begun consuming human bodies, they must continue or die. bones and all follows more or less the steps of the movies Bonnie and Clyde to Terrence Malick’s We stopped in putting a couple of pretty people on the wrong side of the law and sending them on the run, but in this case, it’s questionable how human they are. And their crimes aren’t sexy or fancy, like the bank robberies in Bonnie and Clyde or the vampire murders in Hunger — Guadagnino turns bloody, grotesque and animalistic consumption rituals into an unpleasant matter of survival.

All of which gives him more room to play when it comes to romanticizing Lee and Maren’s connection. There is a centuries-old tradition of sexualizing monsters and predatory behavior, and bones and all leans into it heavily, while continuing to build the story around the old coming-of-age patterns of the leads finding themselves (and finding their courage in the process). Maren has a lot to navigate: a family mystery, her first love, her first understanding that there are other Eaters and rules that bind them. But most of all, she has to figure out who she is in Lee’s shadow and outside of it. He knows much more than she does about the world and life of the Eater, but she knows more about what he wants and who she hopes to be, and he has to navigate how her desires meet her understanding of the world.

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Lee (Timothée Chalamet) and Maren (Taylor Russell) stand in a wide green field under a wide, bright blue sky filled with fluffy white clouds in Bones and All

Photo: Yannis Drakoulidis/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

I like it call me by your name, bones and all It’s a sultry film, particularly visually: Guadagnino revels in the kind of big-sky country vistas that made Andrea Arnold similarly summer-vacation-themed. american honey so memorable, and lights its protagonists warmly by day and with furtive fervor at night. But it’s most notable for the way he and Kajganich navigate between the romantic elements and the horror themes of the story. There’s a great metaphor at play here about how parents, families, and friends allow aberrant behavior until it feels normal, and how being shielded from the world can make it difficult to properly enter it. And he plays in radically different ways at the same time: both through the lens of two young children on a romantic road trip, and as two growing up monsters seducing and killing other people for food.

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There’s an equally complex sense of attraction and repulsion at play in Maren and Lee’s relationship. They’re very different people who rarely seem right for each other, but they also have that core, unwavering similarity in common, and the fact that neither of them knows another Eater their own age bonds them together, even as they rage at each other with their conflicting goals and beliefs. The filmmakers keep the questions humming with live wire intensity throughout the movie: should these kids stay together or go their separate ways? Are they helping each other as much as they are hurting each other? It’s a big complication for a young love movie, and Guadagnino makes the boundaries of their relationship far more tense than any questions about who or who might hunt them.

bones and all it’s going to be a hard sell for many audiences, given the bizarre way it spans genres and tones. There is almost a camp element to the way Guadagnino contrasts the attractive image of Lee and Maren embracing silently in a private moment, and the repulsive image of them covered in dark, clotted arterial blood and attracting flies as they flee the corpse of their last victim. But the craft throughout the film is impressive and compelling. The cast and performances are surprisingly great, especially when the almost unrecognizable Michael Stuhlbarg and director David Gordon Green turn up for an impressive one-shot cameo. And the whole company is deliciously bizarre, the kind of movie that leaves people walking away thinking, “I’ve never seen anything like it.” that Before.” This movie draws on some old tropes and familiar ideas. But it does so in a way that makes them feel as new, fresh, and exhilarating as young love itself.

bones and all it’s in theaters now.

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