In this section of the Colossus Movie Guide for Bones and All, we answer questions you have about the movie. If you’re curious about plot explanations, meanings, themes, lessons, motifs, symbols, or just confused by something, ask and we’ll do our best to answer.
- Maren Yearly – Taylor Russell
- Lee – Timothée Chalamet
- Sully – Mark Rylance
- Janelle Kerns – Chloë Sevigny
- Kayla – Anna Cobb
- Frank Yearly – André Holland
- Jake – Michael Stuhlbarg
- Brad – David Gordon Green
- Sherry – Kendle Coffey
- Lance – Jake Horowitz
- Directed by – Luca Guadagnino
- Written by – David Kajganich
- Based on the novel – Bones and All (Camille DeAngelis)
Bones and All | Questions and Answers
How does the book Bones and All differ from the movie?
The biggest difference is that in the book Sully is Maren’s grandfather. Which changes the entire foundation of their relationship and his following her around. In the novel, it’s a messed up family dynamic. In the movie, Sully’s just a lonely creep who attaches to Maren because she was kind to him. Each becomes a different kind of commentary. One about family, the other about loneliness and male/female interactions.
Another huge difference is the final confrontation with Sully. In the film, it’s Maren and Lee against Sully and Sully mortally wounds Lee with a knife. In the book, Maren dodges Sully’s knife thrust, then Sully kind of gives up. Lee bursts in and seizes Sully. Maren hides in the bathroom for, quote, “Seven minutes, give or take.” In that time, Lee defeats and feeds on Sully. So book Maren is a lot more passive. And Sully is far less threatening.
Even weirder than how passive the fight is is the aftermath. In the film, Sully stabs Lee in the lung and Lee succumbs to the wound. He asks Maren to eat him as this final act of love and connection. But in the book? In the book, Lee is perfectly fine after the fight. No damage. He and Maren talk for a bit. Maren drinks from Sully’s flask and gets drunk. Then the two share a bed for the first time. When Maren wakes up the next day, she discovers the mess she made from eating Lee. Which was something he wanted? The weirdest part is that Maren barely has any reaction to it. There’s just a brief “Whoops. We had some good times. Wish I hadn’t done this.” Then Maren just…moves on with her life. It’s pretty anticlimactic. Especially compared to the movie. Also, Kayla wasn’t one of Sully’s victims. She’s completely fine.
The last stretch is just Maren pretending to be a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Again, she doesn’t mourn Lee at all. She gets a job as a librarian. Haunts campus. And flirts with a guy named Jason. After months, Jason finally tries to make a move on her, and Maren eats him. That’s the end of the book.
What are the people in Bones and All?
It’s never specifically stated. They’re often referred to as “eaters” and the word “cannibal” does get thrown in once or twice. It seems almost like a twist on the vampire story. Except more natural than supernatural. But I’d say “exaggerated cannibalism” is the best explanation. And it seems to be genetic. Maren’s mom had this. Lee’s dad had it. I imagine if Maren and Lee had a kid that the kid would have it. Though, interestingly enough, Kayla was normal. So it seems somewhat selective?
Does Maren eat Lee?
Yes, 100%. Lee was dying and so “gifted” himself to Maren. There’s a morbid romanticism about it. Eating someone makes them part of you. And the love Lee and Maren shared means Lee was already emotionally a huge part of Maren. So the physical act is kind of a reflection of their relationship. And of course symbolizes Maren ending a chapter in her life and crossing this threshold into a post-Lee, post-bones-and-all world.
How did Sully find Kayla?
Sully had been following Maren almost the entire movie. Just keeping his distance. So two things could have happened. One, Kayla went to visit Lee and Maren at the university but Sully got to her first. Two, Sully went to Kentucky specifically for Kayla. We do know Sully had been following Maren the whole time. Meaning he was nearby when Lee first introduced Maren to Kayla. And would have probably been following when Maren went back to Kentucky to ask Kayla about Lee. So Sully knew exactly where Kayla was.
Did Lee have a weird non-reaction to news that Sully killed Kayla?
Yes. I mean, he was dying himself. But you would expect the movie to give the characters more to do with the news. Kayla was essentially the only person Lee cared about aside from Maren. And he only knew Maren for a few months. Kayla was like…his sole reason to live. To not give him the opportunity to react was a strange call.
Why did the end flashback to Maren and Lee on the hill?
I believe that was when they were in Nevada? There’s that big breakthrough scene on that hill where the two of them essentially declare their love for each other and make a declaration to build a life together. It’s this memory of purity and hope and opportunity. And it’s visually beautiful in a way a lot of the movie isn’t. It’s pretty ideal. I would guess the purpose of the flashback is two-fold. One, it contrasts Maren leaving the apartment she and Lee had been living in, ending this brief time they had together. There’s something very cold in the shots of the empty apartment with stains still on the floor. And very enclosed. Compared to the openness of that hill and the sense of opportunity and love and passion. Two, it strikes me as the kind of thing that like…in the aftermath of her eating Lee, this is the feeling she now carries with her. What lives on in her as she continues on with the next phase of her life. He gave her this sense of peace and potential. That she can live normally.
What question do you have?
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