Bones and All (2022) Movie Ending & Themes Explained: One of the year’s most interesting and allegorical films is Luca Guadagnino’s “Bones and All.” It brings us an intense story about cannibals with sparkling chemistry, but underneath the surface, the film reveals its real meaning. It follows Maren (Taylor Russell) and Lee (Timothée Chalamet) on a Midwestern road trip along the countryside, as they fall in love while learning things about themselves. Well, technically, though, the film isn’t the coming-of-age love story it appears to be. Much like the young protagonists at its center, the film acts like a genre hybrid; a bloody and violent body horror tale blended with road-trip romance, “Bones and All” serves as a drama that acts on multiple levels. Here’s a deeper look at the film’s plot, ending, and themes.
Bones And All (2022) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
Despite its bloody and violent exterior, “Bones and All” centers itself around the lives of Maren, who is one day abandoned by her father after, um, a bloody incident. What we learn through her is how her father had left a tape recorder for her, which recounted her earliest episodes of cannibalism from childhood. Out on her own with nowhere to go, she comes across a random old stranger drifting around the dark streets of Kentucky, claiming to help the young girl out. Who is this spooky unknown drifter? More on that later. Soon, Maren comes across Lee, an orange-haired charismatic guy. Well, she figures that after smelling him from afar, and soon befriends him. Unlike Maren, Lee is someone who kills without any remorse. He also tries to explain to Maren how this is actually an unexplainable trait people like them cannot run away from but should instead embrace. The two heartthrobs at the center then fall in love as they venture onto the untethered remnants of their past traumas.
Who is Sully? What does the character represent?
The middle-aged drifter, named Sully (played by Mark Rylance) teaches Maren how to sniff out the other eaters while showing her how he braids his own rope from the hair of his prey. The character appears at the beginning of the film, where he introduces the protagonist to the world of cannibals and explains the rules they live by. He advises her to “never eat an eater,” but she fears that he may have more alarming intentions. Even though she initially abandons Sully at the beginning of the movie, that doesn’t make the latter stop chasing her.
After her brief parting with Lee, Sully tracks her down on the side of the road during the latter half of the movie and reveals that he has indeed been following her all along. Like a sexual predator, Sully even corners Maren near his van, asking her to come along with him. She rebuffs him, but Sully lashes out in rage; Rylance’s eyes pop out in seeing her dismiss his contained desire as he curses and throws insults at her. “Why do you say your name like you’re two different people,” asks Maren to Sully at this point in the film. What are the underlying implications of the line? What does Sully’s thick southern accent and his menacing persona say about his character?
Bones And All (2022) Movie Themes Explained:
Oblivious yet to fully comprehend the consequences of their identities, Maren and Lee go around the countryside meeting new people. No matter where they are, the presence of Sully always remains in the film’s background; the screenplay doesn’t have to ‘make’ Sully menacing; it literally uses his character as an allegory. Neither Maren nor Lee (the latter of which remains unaware of his existence until it’s too late) comes to learn who he really is. Still, as Maren suggests through her naive remark, Sully, indeed, is two different people masquerading as one, luring the ‘other ones’ to buy into his mellifluous voice coated by a thick Southern accent. He feeds onto those who are dying, and his presence helps compound as well as amplify the film’s main theme about identity.
The film is specifically about how these two young protagonists are still figuring out who they are in a highly complicated society. The concept and abstract idea of home are very close to their identities, but for different reasons. While Maren is more on a journey of coming-of-age self-discovery, a part of that process is about finding a place to call home where she’s truly accepted. Whereas for Lee, it’s implied that he’s bi-sexual, which only makes things further complicated for his cannibalistic tendencies. He is also seen constantly visiting his younger sister back home, which in itself is symbolic of how someone’s home is always a part of them.
It’s only when Lee and Maren meet each other and form a relationship that their collective hardships lead them to unlock as well as adjust to a series of personal revelations. Maren, as we had learned, has lived her entire life in fear of becoming the monster her father thought she was. By projecting this very fear onto Lee, she lashes out at him at a point when he eats a man with a family. Later, when Maren tracks down her mother for the first time, Janelle (Chloe Sevigny), she discovers how she, too, was a flesh eater. Upon visiting her at an asylum, she lashes out at Maren, forcing her to go around once again alone.
Bones And All: The Significance Behind Movie’s Setting
“Bones And All” is very carefully set against the backdrop of 80s America; the events of the movie play out during the Reagan administration when vast masses of American society brutally fostered homophobic self-loathing in the population. On the other hand, the Midwest setting of the film ties into a universal message of identity at the center of the story. As mentioned earlier, a romantic sequence between Lee and another man hint at the fact that the story is trying to send a message about being gay in 80s America.
It’s a rather unique and oblique way of telling a tale of this sort; the idea of feeling different from others around you is a pretty universal emotion, but it’s the ‘knowing that others view someone differently’ part that might lead to that person covering parts of themselves up even more. We all know the American midwest has lots of prejudice with undercurrents of hatred toward marginalized communities. The story, thus, can be viewed and interpreted in many ways. Although the same plays against the strengths at times, making it appear too chaotic and all over the place to pin it down to something specific, “Bones And All” still remains an interesting watch that’s directed with tender direction.
Bones And All Movie Ending, Explained:
Throughout the runtime of “Bones And All,” Maren and Lee spend most of their time hiding themselves from everybody who isn’t a cannibal. Before coming across Lee, Maren encountered Sully, whose attraction to Maren is finally confirmed at the end. However, Maren never reciprocates the feelings back to Sully and instead sends him away. On the other hand, she completely opens herself up to Lee until the two finally end up living in a little safe space of their own. But still oblivious to what their fate has planned against them, we see how Sully has intended to consume both Lee and Maren. He eventually tracks them to their home and, upon creepily sneaking in, pins Maren to the bed. Lee arrives just on time, and the two manage to kill Sully in the bathtub. In a terrific scene, we watch Rylance give some of the best performances this year, having just the right amount of vague menace that permeates the contrasting poppy visuals of the film.
Even after killing Sully, we see how badly Lee is wounded. While Maren insists that they should go visit a hospital as soon as possible, Lee suggests they stay together and how it’s already too late. So he asks Maren to consume his flesh as he slowly gives out his breath. As the title implies, she eats him ‘bones and all’, but there’s something more significant worth noting here. The scene marks Maren’s first time eating someone like that, and it’s the very person – the only person, in fact – who had accepted her truly the way she was. Thus, it could also be viewed in a romantic context; eating someone ‘bones and all’ could also refer to sharing love with someone who accepts you completely for who they are, just like Maren and Lee did.