Bones and All

Delia Brandel

More stories from Delia Brandel

Book Club
December 6, 2023

Content Warning: The following article contains slight spoilers for “Bones and All”

Last week, I found myself bedridden after an endoscopy, sitting on the couch with my mom at home. We were debating on movies to watch, and landed on the new(ish) scary movie “Bones and All.”

My mom, who accidentally referred to this movie as “Bones bones bones,” is not a horror fan, while I am a fanatic. 

The winning factor for her and I alike was definitely the generally positive reviews and star-studded cast, including Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet.

Based on the book of the same name, “Bones and All” is a two-hour and ten-minute horror romance movie directed by Luca Guadagino in the fall of 2022. The book was originally written by Camille DeAngelis. 

Now, if you know me at all then you know I love a good campy, confusing and a little pretentious movie. So the dreamy lighting and choppy plotlines within this film were definitely my cup of tea.

The movie follows Maren, a teen girl with a compulsion to eat humans. She is abandoned by her father after a particularly gory instance, and is left with a recording of him explaining why he had to leave. 

She begins listening to it on her way to find her grandmother in Minnesota, hoping to find out more about her absent mother. 

During this trip, she meets two important figures — Sully and Lee. Sully seems to be an overly-friendly, unsettling but well-meaning man with the same compulsion. 

Maren’s interaction with Sully leaves her confused and spooked, and she leaves the next morning to continue her journey. 

Lee is a young man she meets in the next town over. He opens her eyes to a silent community of “eaters,” or people with the need to cannibalize to have energy. 

He allows her to tag along while they visit his sister, share secrets, travel to her grandma’s and finally to the institution her mother lives in. 

Some criticize the strange, almost stunted dialogue between characters in this movie, but I would argue it adds to the idea that these people are a bit estranged, maybe dated from what is regular or smooth lingo. 

Most coming-of-age movies feature actors like our two main characters based around pretty palatable issues, this is where “Bones and All” takes a step in a more unique direction. 

Through this road trip, the two begin to form a turbulent and undeniable bond. There are a lot of very intense, campy ambient lighting scenes where our lovers stare desperately into each other’s eyes. 

Their relationship with each other, their families and the compulsion they both begin to indulge in more freely could be a brilliant metaphor. 

In my opinion, this could be a representation of relationships between two individuals with mental illness or who are battling addiction. 

Lee opens up about his relationship with his father, the abuse and his ultimate altercation with him that lead to Lee living on the road. 

The most compelling part of their plotline is the idea that Sully may not even be a real character, but the consequences of the metaphoric actions I mentioned above. 

Maren and Lee settle down, determined to “live like normal people.” Maren gets a job, and Lee starts what could be considered a normal routine for the first time in his life. 

Sully comes back though, after months and months of following and stalking the pair. He ruins their peaceful life, and ends up puncturing Lee’s lung. 

The movie ends with death and a feeling of grief. In my eyes, whatever they were running from by falling into each other caught up to them. 

The book hinges on the intense passion of the beginnings of a relationship with someone who feeds into the parts of you that you have kept hidden – it’s a gory, horrifyingly reminiscent story of your first love. 

Brandel can be reached at [email protected].