Bones and All

Bones and All ★★½

Guadagnino does have a real knack for capturing the beautiful but empty atmosphere of America's open roads and the interchangeable midwestern states that are defined by the avenues leading through them. But at every point that this film reaches a fork in the road where it might have taken a path toward something truly rich and meaningful, it just keeps buzzing along like a distracted driver missing his exit. As a YA romance it just doesn't work, scuttling the much more palpable chemistry Russell and Chalamet have playing friends. Relatedly, the '80s setting, parental hatred and mixture of blood and eroticism make this an obvious candidate for AIDS allegory and a larger mirror of how queer communities formed in the absence of the families who rejected them, but that is nowhere to be seen as the director as ever focused on The Vibe above all. And the vibes are enough for good chunks of the film, and Chalamet and especially Russell are so good and heartfelt that it's easy to drift with them.

But the surprising lack of follow-through on its gore and the consistent failure to link it to any true, unvarnished sexual lust, drags this down, as does Mark Rylance's next-level awful performance as what Brianna Zigler already nailed to the wall as the pedophile from Family Guy. Apparently in the novel that character is just meant to be Russell's grandfather looking to show her the ropes, which makes sense for a story of like individuals finding and supporting each other; the major shift here plays into the misguided and half-assed attempts to capitalize on the links between sex and death.

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