Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All is not for the faint of heart. The coming-of-age movie follows two star-crossed lovers, Maren (Taylor Russell) and Lee (Timothée Chalamet), as they set out on a road trip in 1980s America. There’s a catch. Maren and Lee are cannibals, and they will look to satisfy their cravings for human flesh on this road trip.
When we first meet Maren, she is an 18-year-old outcast grappling with her new cannibalistic tendencies. Maren has experienced hardship and loss throughout her life, but because of her newfound love of the flesh, her father, Frank (André Holland), cannot protect her anymore. This leads Maren to seek out those in the same situation, leading her to strike up a relationship with Lee. Cannibalism and gore aside, Russell believes this is a story about what it’s like to be “misunderstood.”
“I’ve never read anything like this script before. Maren, she’s just so unique. She wants to connect, but is having a hard time doing so — and then you find out why,” said Russell in a featurette for the film. “We all feel like outsiders when we’re growing up. I think everybody feels like that. It’s a very universal thing, though, to feel misunderstood.”
Starring alongside Russell is Chalamet, who previously worked with Guadagnino on Call Me by Your Name. As Lee, Chalamet plays the mysterious boy who forms an instant attraction to Maren. Like Maren, Lee is a cannibal, and he too grapples with the effects.
“I was moved by Maren and Lee’s story, carrying something that you carry shame with or can’t quite make sense of,” said Chalamet in a featurette for Bones and All. “His biggest vulnerability is true love … so when he finds that with Maren, in those moments where you’re able to fall for someone else, you look more closely in the mirror. I think what he sees is terrifying.”
Based on Camille DeAngelis’ novel of the same name, Bones and All‘s ensemble cast features Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, Chloë Sevigny, David Gordon Green, and Jessica Harper. The film also marks Chalamet’s first producing credit on a feature film. Bones and All received predominantly positive reviews as the film sits at 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Bones and All is now playing in New York and Los Angeles. It plays everywhere in theaters on November 23.