A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
As downbeat and violent as this film is, there are still messages to be found about how marginalized people find comfort together, and the pain experienced by those who hurt others.
Positive Role Models
Lee and Maren are relatable and tragic characters. They're caught in the grip of an irresistible impulse and only want to live their lives in peace. Even villains in this complicated movie have complex and understandable motivations.
One of the two main characters is a young woman of color; her race is never mentioned (she's played by Taylor Russell, who has a Black father and a White mother), but her youth and gender are referred to by others who think that makes her an easy target (it doesn't). The other main character and most side characters are White.
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Violence & Scariness
Extremely bloody violence: on-screen murder by bludgeoning and stabbing; scenes of people biting and eating bloody parts of a dead body (stringy goop comes out, along with pooling, dripping, and spouting blood and lumps of tissue). Cannibals enthusiastically eat dead bodies, resulting in bloody faces, tissue stuck between teeth, and horribly maimed bodies, both living and dead. A character masturbates another to the moment of orgasm and then slits his throat and kills him. A man menaces a much younger and smaller woman, holds her at knifepoint, then lies on her body and kisses her.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Romance is central, with a young couple frequently kissing and clinging to each other. Some of their passionate kisses come after they eat human flesh and have bloody hands and faces. In one scene, two characters kiss, and then we see one masturbating the other from behind with moans and suggestive hand movements before a throat is slit and blood spurts out (a clear symbolic stand-in for semen). Nudity includes a scene in which an elderly woman's dead body is naked on the floor while cannibals start eating her (viewers see her breasts at length), and one in which two people embrace while shirtless (a bare breast is seen from the side).
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Uses of "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," and "a--hole," as well as a slur for gay men ("f--got") and a vulgar word for female genitalia that's also an insult ("c--t").
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Multiple characters smoke cigarettes. In one scene, characters share a case of beer until they're all buzzed/drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bones and All is an edgy romantic drama based on Camille DeAngelis' same-named 2015 novel about two young cannibals (Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet) on a road trip across America. The mood veers sharply from tender romance to extremely intense violence and horror and back again. There's also relatable interpersonal drama, which could give the violent scenes even more impact. Characters whom viewers get to know and sympathize with are suddenly and horribly murdered on-screen -- they're bludgeoned, stabbed, and bitten. Expect many close-ups of biting mouths and teeth and bloody, mangled flesh. In one scene, cannibals wait for an elderly woman to die (she's shown moaning and shaking in pain) before they start taking bites from her nude body (bare breasts shown). In another scene, one man masturbates another before slitting his throat at the moment of orgasm (suggestive hand movements, moaning). A man menaces a much younger and smaller woman, holds her at knifepoint, and then lies on her body and kisses her. Characters kiss and make references to sex, and multiple characters smoke cigarettes and drink beer. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "f--got," "c--t," and more. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
By turns romantic, delicate, terrifying, and positively nauseating, this book-based horror romance is an unsettling yet strangely beautiful cinematic experience that lingers. Many viewers are likely to have seen "young murderers on the run" dramas (Badlands, Bonnie and Clyde) and romantic films with the undead in love (Twilight, Warm Bodies), but both of those subgenres generally tone down the violence in favor of longing gazes and tender kisses. But in Bones and All, the youthful main characters meet-cute directly after one of them has waited all night for a woman to die on the floor of her bedroom before bloodily chomping her nude torso.
It's hard to know how to take the contrasts, which seesaw back and forth throughout the film. Maren is on a search for her estranged mother (relatable), and every few days she enriches her diner-food diet with raw, recently dead human flesh (not so relatable). Lee, a lonely soul who's been cast out of his family and home without a friend (pitiable), murders passing strangers in the town he wanders through (yikes). The chemistry between Russell and Chalamet is palpable, and both are given strong, sympathetic roles that are literally meaty in every way. In some moments, you may find yourself wanting nothing more than for these two to cast off their bloody practices and continue drifting romantically from one beautiful empty American vista to another. At other moments, viewers will understandably recoil in horror and disgust. Those with weaker stomachs may even tap out. But those who can take it may find this curious artifact of a film uniquely beguiling, a carnal romance in every sense of that word.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.