When I first heard that Call me by Your Name director Luca Guadagnino’s next collaboration with superstar Timothée Chalamet would be a cannibal love story/coming-of-age film, it’d be an understatement to say I was skeptical. This feeling carried into the first hour or so of the movie itself, with me being incredibly doubtful that the film would work as a whole. After all, it’s a strange balance of absurdism, drama and body horror that Guadagnino was setting out to maintain; and while I’m still unsure how I feel about the movie overall, I can say that by the end I was certain there was something beautiful at the heart of Bones and All.
With the trailer releasing just yesterday, I’m sure a lot of people are going to share my mixed feelings and opinions; but, for those who do end up watching it (and you should!), I don’t think anyone can deny the powerhouse acting of Chalamet and Taylor Russel. The last few minutes of the film in particular are damn near Oscar-worthy as far as Leading Actor and Actress categories are concerned. Russel’s portrayal of Maren is sensitive but determined, a duality that’s embodied perfectly and with great emotional range. Chalamet’s approach to Lee seems cool, calm and (mostly) collected, but we can all tell there’s something intensely dark lying just beneath the surface. As these two characters struggle to overcome family histories of trauma and accept themselves, it’s easy for viewers to become lost in both the acting and phenomenal cinematography.
Arseni Khachaturan knows how to light, and does it incredibly well. The final shot of the movie is jaw dropping in its use of color and landscape to illustrate what Maren and Lee mean to each other, which only adds that much more of a gut-punch when you leave the theater. This is all underscored via some great music composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, which never seems to dominate the scene, but is instead only there to support the strength of both the acting and cinematography. This is how music should operate in all movies!
I was also a big fan how the narrative seemed to take on an almost road-movie kind of framing once Maren and Lee set out to find her long-lost mother and (hopefully) get to the bottom of where exactly she got such strange urges. The seemingly endless highways they drive through seem to reflect their search for a version of themselves they actually like, which is something I think any human can relate to. This movie contains a lot of things and throws them at you all at once, but not in a jumbled, disorganized fashion. Instead, Bones and All manages an almost symphonic cohesion that I genuinely didn’t think was possible, but man am I glad I was wrong. It’s scheduled to release in the US on November 23rd, and you should most definitely go watch it!
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