In contrast, an unfailingly charming Chalamet doesn’t stretch his emotional range very much. He presents a familiar re-imagining of other cool but secretly tortured young men who have become a staple in his nascent collection of roles in the prestigious kitchen.
Then there’s the third key character in this “Nomadland” meets “Raw” trip: Sully (Mark Rylance), a weird eater who shows Maren the ropes at the beginning of her self-discovery as a cannibal. What makes Rylance’s support act exceptional is that one never doubts that Sully is a real person. His bizarre mannerisms, heavily ornate clothing, and other eccentricities have a lived-in quality. Drenched in blood, he shares with Maren the organic memorabilia he carries around to keep track of what he has consumed.
Guadagnino’s frequent collaborator Michael Stuhlbarg and director David Gordon Green reappear in a rare acting role for chilling cameos. They help cement Bones and All as an amalgamation of the Italian filmmaker’s tales of amorous complications like Call Me by Your Name or A Bigger Splash and his genre sensibilities, which are further expanded in Suspiria be tested.
Coming back to the meaning of the photos Lee and Maren encounter as they cross states for a summer: while these images reveal information about the people within them, they lack depth and can only tell us so much. That Bones and All begins with shots of paintings depicting landscapes that exist outside the walls of Maren’s high school shows how these depictions are mere interpretations of reality. Likewise, the photos only capture a brief glimpse of a person rather than who they are completely beyond the confines of that frame and the time immortalizing them. People change.
Bones and All plays out as an engrossing experience that you can’t look away from for most of its run. It’s easy to be charmed by its modestly lush imagery, the believable chemistry of the fleeting couple, and even the rattling bluntness of the graphic sequences.
But once the pair reach Maren’s original destination, Minnesota, and a confrontation with a family member ensues, the film loses steam that can’t be regained by the choppy flashbacks that saturate the final act of Guadagnino’s latest film. Even the heart-to-heart confession between the carnivorous lovebirds, in which they agree to attempt a peacefully mundane existence, makes abundantly clear what was deliberately unspoken.
The essence of this metaphor, that there is always someone out there who can empathize with one’s plight, applies to any of the reasons why we feel left out, desperate to leave the house, or profoundly alone. Based on those philosophical considerations, as well as more obvious reasons for the pun, Bones and All might as well have shared a title with another fall season release: All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.
Play in theaters now.