Bones and All: why we didn’t digest Luca Guadagnino’s new film

Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell by Yannis Drakoulidis © Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell by Yannis Drakoulidis © Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

In 2017, Italian director Luca Guadagnino created the event with his film Call Me by Your Namewhich revealed the charisma and talent of Timothée Chalamet in broad daylight. He recounted with dreamlike the summer romance, in the 80s, between two young men in a magnificent villa. Globally acclaimed by critics, the feature film seemed to us, at times, a bit cutesy, kitsch and bombastic. We sometimes felt like we were witnessing a queer parody of Rohmer.

An America of misfits visited a thousand and one times

With Bones and Allout this Wednesday, November 23Luca Guadagnino is about to be talked about again, especially as he once again directs the “darling” of Gen Z, who causes riots at each of his appearances: Timothée Chalamet. Bones and All, who tells a cannibalistic romance between two outsiders (played by Timothée Chalamet and the revelation Taylor Russell) has something to seduce. The road trip is captivating with its magnificent landscapes of an America of the great outdoors (travelled by the two lovers by car) and its soundtrack, which summons New Order and Joy Division but also original compositions by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

But this film which speaks of wandering and of misfits often loses us on the way. The film prohibited for children under 16 takes us on the trail of Maren, a young girl who is looking for her mother, whom she has not known, and Lee, a rebellious teenager who is experiencing family difficulties, at the end of the 80s. The two heroes recognize each other at first sight. Indeed, they share the same appetite for human flesh and the same feeling of rejection from society. The cannibalistic and romantic misfits are indeed regarded as monsters, due to their grunge looks, their disadvantaged socio-cultural backgrounds and their different tastes. Except that by its theme, Bones and All competes with a large number of masterpieces on lovers on the fringes and on the run: Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The Wild Stroll (1973)True Romance (1993), Thelma and Louise (1991) or even Sailor and Lula (1990).

The trailer for “Bones and All” (2022) by Luca Guadagnino

A “road trip(es)” without nerves

Without counting the films on the transition to adulthood (the “coming-of-age films”), an already very thick vein in which Bones and All registers. Often, Guadagnino evokes the white trash heroes of Jim Jarmusch and Gus Van Sant without reaching the poetry of the latter. Combining clichés (squalid motels, vintage mobile homes, flirtations at the convenience store and bathing in the lake almost naked), this Bones and All lack of flesh and sinews. Like a “road trip(es)” which remains on the surface of feelings. Even if the bodies and faces of the heroes are sexy as hell, we don’t feel the intense emotions that this tale about the age of all possibilities should provoke.

To renew the genre of the cursed teenager film, Luca Guadagnino dares scenes, trying, cannibalism. And weaves the metaphor of love that devours everything in its path. Except that he does everything to create attachment and tenderness towards these two hero-pariahs who, however charming they are, remain serial killers. Height of bad taste? Armie Hammer, the other star actor of Call Me by Your Name, was pinned for his cannibal fantasies, in real life. Fortunately, Luca Guadagnino spares us the cameo. On the other hand, he does not hesitate to mix in a vampiric and bulimic way all the references (to other films) and all the cinegenic themes (adolescent spleen, the quest for identity, addiction) to offer a cross, failed, Between Trouble Every Day (2001), At the edge of dawn (1987) and born killers (1994) as indigestible as falsely provocative.

“Bones and All” (2022) by Luca Guadagnino with Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell, currently in theaters.

Bones and All: why we didn’t digest Luca Guadagnino’s new film