Op-Ed

“Bones and All”: The haunting love story of two on-the-run cannibals. 

By: Leila Radwan

Maren and Lee sharing touching moment
PC: IMDB

SAN JOSE, CALIF. ⸺ “Bones and All” is the newest movie from the Italian director Luca Guadagno, which stars Timothee Chalamet and Taylor Russell. This disturbing love story will leave you captivated and in awe for days after.  

The 1980s love story is a rework of the 2015 novel by Camille DeAngelis, Bones and All. It surrounds two run-away teens, Maren and Lee, who share a dark secret.  

The author uses cannibalism as a symbol for so many other things, like mental and physical trauma people bond over or connects to each other with, another theory I really liked was how cannibalism is a symbol for addiction. The author also portrays how people take so much from one another to feed themselves in a way, which is portrayed in the movie through the main characters and how they need one another to survive. One of my favorite things is how the director never confirmed or denied these theories which allow us to come up with our own rendition of what things might mean. 

When I read more into what the author and director were trying to show I learned that; bones are a symbol to represent the truest, barest version of ourselves. It’s when we are the most vulnerable, when everything else that shields us is taken away we are just left with what we truly are bones. So I feel like that has to be a part of what the story is meant to show, and Bones and All to me means we are everything, we are vulnerable but we are also what protects us and our baggage  is all part, it’s interesting to think about in that way. 

Bones and all is the kind of movie that brings out two reactions. You can either be repelled and disturbed and left wondering what kind of person can think of a story like this, or you can see it as a beautiful love story about two people who are just trying to find how they fit into the world together. 

While I was watching the movie I wrote down some quotes that stood out to me and that I just really felt had to have a deeper meaning to them. There is a part of the story where Maren and Lee run into the other cannibals, while they are camping out by a lake. The other two guys start to tell them about their own experiences, and one of them explains what Bones and All are. He tells them how it’s a sort of right of passage for cannibals, which sounds odd, it’s when you eat every part of your victim, including the bones. While explaining that he says it’s a big deal, quoting “there’s before bones and all and then there after”. I felt like that was a way of saying there is before addiction and then there’s after, like how much things change when you become addicted to anything, same goes with going through a traumatic event. For cannibals it’s a big shift after you eat bones and all, you’re not that same, it’s like committing to the habit.

One of the best things about this movie aside from the meaning and symbolism is the cinematography and attention to detail. The scenery shots were just beautiful which is expected from an ‘on the road’ story. The way this movie captures the most normal mundane things to seem extraordinary was really cool to see. It was also a type of cinematography I hadn’t seen before in film. I love how peaceful it made the movie seem, despite the storyline being nothing but peaceful. The wardrobe also was something I noticed. Throughout the movie, Maren wears her dad’s jacket, which I thought was a way to give her comfort and security. I loved how even that small detail could have so much meaning. Both character’s wardrobe perfectly described their personalities, whoever was in charge of costumes did a really good job of showing who they were from what they were wearing. 

This movie had so many layers to it, and a lot of people can learn from it and relate in a way, substituting cannibalism into whatever they’re dealing with. Cannibalism is such a unique way of portraying addiction or trauma. I highly recommend this movie

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