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Move review: 'Bones and All'

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The first time filmmaker Luca Guadagnino and actor Timothee Chalamet worked together, it was on the romantic drama "Call Me By Your Name," based on a novel set in the 1980s. Their new film "Bones And All," is also based on a novel set in the '80s. It also depicts a romance, but critic Bob Mondello says there is a difference. This one has a lot of blood.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: As played by Taylor Russell and Timothee Chalamet, Maren and Lee are a gorgeous couple. Sitting in an open field somewhere in the Midwest, they are - though they're on the run - the very picture of romance, holding hands, sharing secrets - one secret in particular. They're young. They're in love. They eat people.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

TIMOTHEE CHALAMET: (As Lee) You don't think I'm a bad person?

TAYLOR RUSSELL: (As Maren Yearly) All I think is that I love you.

MONDELLO: Camille DeAngelis set her novel near the end of the Reagan era, when cannibalism could serve as an apt metaphor for American excess. Director Luca Guadagnino doesn't lean on politics as much as on poetry, on youth. These kids are outsiders, still finding themselves. It would be wrong to call them innocent, but what they're hungriest for is connection.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

RUSSELL: (As Maren Yearly) I don't want to hurt anybody.

CHALAMET: (As Lee) Famous last words.

MONDELLO: In the film's opening scenes, the director shows how the world sees them - Maren, a shy teen in a new school whose dad is so insistent that she stay home nights, he actually locks her door when they finish dinner.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

MADELEINE HALL: (As Kim) Hey.

MONDELLO: But an invite to a new classmate's slumber party? She slips out a window and arrives just as quiet time is descending and fingernail polishes are being displayed.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

HALL: (As Kim) So you can't spend the night?

RUSSELL: (As Maren Yearly) Not all night. I should be back by 6 to be safe. I'll just head out when you guys want to sleep.

MONDELLO: The host's ring finger is being painted a new shade.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

KENDLE COFFEY: (As Sherry) Try that. It's called copper fever.

MONDELLO: She looks and frowns.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

HALL: (As Kim) It's too orange.

MONDELLO: But Maren seems to find it appealing. She leans forward, takes the girl's finger gently in her mouth and bites it off.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

HALL: (As Kim, screaming).

MONDELLO: Now it's clear why Dad locked her door - why this was a new school.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

ANDRE HOLLAND: (As Frank Yearly) You didn't. In the car in 3 minutes. Whatever you can take in 3 minutes.

MONDELLO: Dad disappears once they're are a couple of states away, leaving cash and a cassette saying why he can't stay, at which point Maren's a bit lost. But he also left her birth certificate, so she sets off to find the mother she never knew. It's on that trip that she discovers there are others like her.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

MARK RYLANCE: (As Sully) I came looking for you. I smelled you.

MONDELLO: Sully's recognized a kindred spirit.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

RYLANCE: (As Sully) I thought you might be hungry.

MONDELLO: He wants to take her under his wing, show her how to harvest folks who are about to die...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

RUSSELL: (As Maren Yearly) Who lives here? Is there someone dead up there?

MONDELLO: ...So she needn't kill - show her how to survive.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

RYLANCE: (As Sully) I got rules - never, never, ever eat an eater.

MONDELLO: But she doesn't trust him. And when she encounters Lee a bit later in a supermarket altercation with a bully...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

SEAN BRIDGERS: (As Barry Cook) You dumb ho.

RUSSELL: (As Maren) Hey, don't talk to her like that.

CHALAMET: (As Lee) You're out of control, buddy.

BRIDGERS: (As Barry Cook) You with the store or something?

CHALAMET: (As Lee) No, I'm not the store, but I'm going to escort you out of it.

MONDELLO: They find themselves on the same team, as it were.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

BRIDGERS: (As Barry Cook) Oh, we're going outside.

CHALAMET: (As Lee) Do you enjoy hassling people, man?

MONDELLO: He won't for long. And Lee and Maren will then bond, as young people do, over shared experiences, first times...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BONES AND ALL")

RUSSELL: (As Maren Yearly) What was it like?

CHALAMET: (As Lee) A rush. I could feel every blood vessel, like, spider-webbing through me, kind of like some kind of weird new superhero.

RUSSELL: (As Maren Yearly) What about afterward? What'd you feel about it? What'd you think?

CHALAMET: (As Lee) I don't remember after.

MONDELLO: For all the blood and cannibalism that it's hard to call tasteful exactly, "Bones And All" turns out to be dreamily resonant as a portrait of teenagers - isolated, marginalized, filled with urges of which they're sometimes ashamed, finding first love in a world where their appetites make sense to no one but themselves. I'm Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.