7.5/10 While I completely understand why a cannibal love story wouldn’t exactly blow up the box office and sell out showings, “Bones and All” has a surprising sweetness to it about lonely outcasts looking for love in a world that despises them, even if rightfully so. While director Luca Guadagnino has made some overrated movies (his previous Timothée Chalamet collaboration “Call Me by Your Name” which promoted pedophilia comes to mind), his second team up with Chalamet is much stronger. Based off of the 2015 novel “Bones & All” by Camille DeAngelis and taking place in rural American in the 1980s, Guadagnino is able to capture the feelings of loneliness, seclusion, regret, shame, self loathing and yearning in both the characters and the setting, despite this being the first film he has made in America. The cast is solid all around but it is Taylor Russell as Maren who steals the show. Chalamet as Lee shares the screen time with her but Russell has been a rising star for years now (she was excellent in the underrated 2019 film “Waves”) and continues to prove why with a subtle and heartbreaking performance here. While the supporting cast generally is limited to a scene or two, Mark Rylance as Sully gives the creepiest performance of his career, playing against type. Speaking of against type, Oscar winning composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross who have done film scores in jazz, techno and everything in between tackle a type of sound they’ve never dealt with before which can only be described as a soft, heartbroken country sound. While their work is more subtle here than previous films, it is just as effective and their song that leads into the ending credits, “[You Made It Feel Like] Home” is easily worthy of a Best Original Song Oscar nomination. As for what doesn’t work, there are only a few minor issues. A story told in the film about a young infant (three years old, if I recall) killing her babysitter was incredibly unbelievable as a child so young wouldn’t have the jaw strength/biting power to essentially kill a full grown teenage babysitter. Near the end there is a moment when a character creeps up on Sully, which makes no sense since Sully is able to smell other “eaters” further away than anyone else so there is no way any other eater could sneak up on him like he does. The film does drag slightly in a couple of places and could have…eaten some of the fat through a little more editing. Those minor flaws aside, while this hard R rated and graphic film won’t be for mainstream audiences, the step in the right direction for Guadagnino, powerhouse performance from Russell and hauntingly sorrowful and romantic love story may not have you craving a meal afterwards like “The Menu” did but will certainly have you reflecting on love, loneliness and searching for belonging.

#EatYourHeartOut / #Craves / #HungriLeeDevours / #ABitOfFiller / #DontCookUp / #SmellMeByYourShame

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