Bones and All Ending Explained (In Detail)

January 21, 2023
M.N. Miller 0
Ending Explained, Film
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We discuss the ending of the film Bones and All, which will contain significant spoilers.

Bones and All is a coming-of-age romantic cannibal road film. Yes, you read that right. The film follows the story of Maren, a young woman who moves to a small town with her father, Frank. Maren doesn’t have many friends. However, she’s invited to a sleepover, for which she sneaks out of the house in a sleepy backwoods town. Oddly, Frank sleeps on the sofa near the front door. Even stranger, Frank has his own daughter’s windows screwed shut.

Maren escapes, following the power lines to her friend’s homes, per the instructions. The girls paint their nails and gossip. One of them cares enough to ask Maren about her mother not being in the picture. It becomes an oddly charged moment that is almost sensual. Maren moves in closer and slowly inches closer to her new friend. Instead of going in for an embrace, a hug, or even a kiss, she goes right to the girl’s finger and chomps down like it’s Sunday dinner.

You see, Maren was stalking her prey. As the film progresses, this little flesh eater goes on a road trip. Why? For one, she has no roots anywhere. The other is to find her mother to try and understand her origins. Almond, the way she listens to an audiotape her father made her, attempts to explain her primal nature. He can no longer take care of her and leaves town. She takes a bus with the money her father left her. In a horrific parable, she meets several people just like her along the way.

A community, if you will. A clingy repairman, Sully, could smell her a half mile away and wanted to school the young girl like the “eater” she was. They take up residence in a geriatric woman’s house where a woman suffers a medical emergency and is very near death lying in her bedroom. Maren locks herself in a room that night, disgusted. However, when she awakes the following day, she gives into her urges and begins to feast on the now-deceased woman with Sully. However, shortly after, she leaves to catch a bus, sneaking out of the home while he is showering. As the bus pulls out of town, she sees Sully standing in front of the house, looking distraught.

Maren then meets Lee, a young man she feels an immediate connection with as they share, let’s say, the same interests. A man drunk in a local small-town drug store is lured out of the front door by Lee and never seen again. Maren catches Lee walking out of an abandoned building across the parking lot at sundown. He has blood on him, which he washes off, and she tells him how she could sense they had this in common. Lee is also a cannibal.

They go on a road trip together, stealing cars and money. They have rules; if they feed, it will only be on people without families or the criminal type. Lee seduces a young gay man working at a carnival. As he entices him to join Lee in a cornfield, Lee cuts his throat, signals for Maren to join him, and they feed. It turns out the young man had a wife and family. They find this out when they take their victim’s car and plan on staying at his home for a few days.

They also meet the extreme kind of their own. A good old boy from Kentucky, Jake, and an understudy of his own, Brad, take the art of cannibalism to the extreme. Here we see Jake give the film’s best line with so much meaning, saying, “There is life before Bones and All and after Bones and All.” The encounter frightens the young pair, who camp next to the duo. When they fall asleep, Lee and Maren sneak away in their truck, with Jake chasing them like a madman.

Their trip takes them to Maren’s grandmother, who initially lies to them and tells her that her daughter is dead. However, she ultimately comes clean and lets her know that she is a resident of a local behavioral hospital. Her mother, Janelle, has eaten off all her fingers and even takes an attempted chomp out of Maren. The nurse later hands her a letter written for Maren years prior from Janelle, explaining why she left. It was simple, really. Janelle felt uncomfortable around her daughter because she may have hurt her. After all, she was an eater.

However, before this incident, Lee and Maren “break up” for a bit because she is too afraid to go and see her mother. She walks away, and of course, Sully is following her. He invites her to go along with her and indicates this she is more than just a protege. Sully is different and has finally found someone with some values and interests. When Maren rejects him, he becomes angry, calls her nasty names, and leaves. As the months pass, Maren runs into Lee’s sister, who directs her to where he is staying. They reunite and attempt to lead a normal life by attending and working at a college in Michigan.

Of course, nothing lasts forever. Sully locates Lee and Maren and attacks her when she returns with groceries in their dorm. The old man straddles her, playing into her fear. Sully indicates new blond hair added to his collection, alluding to the fact that he may have killed Lee’s sister to find their location. That’s when Lee arrives to save her.

He wraps a bag around his head, stabs him several times, and they drag him to the bathtub, where he dies, but the young couple begins to feed on him. Unfortunately, a few moments later, we find out Lee has been stabbed. He is bleeding fast, and even if they could explain things to the authorities, he will not be saved in time. As he dies, Lee pleads with Maren to eat him alive, which she does. The final shot goes back to that day, where they sit looking over a magnificent plain, shirtless, and where they fell madly in love.

Bones and All Ending Explained

To explain Bones and All is to understand high-risk communities. The film is a clear horror metaphor for Guadagnino’s film as these are archetypes of the disenfranchised, particularly youth. The most common young runaway in America are members of the LGBTQ+ community:

  • The government website Youth.gov (2022) states most LGBTQ+ youths caught in transition into homelessness experience family rejection. This results from sexual orientation or gender identity, with cannibalization being a metaphor for this.
  • The physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, aging out of the foster care system, and financial and emotional neglect experienced by Lee and Maren.
  • Most notably, described as a gradual escalation of the parent-child conflict over time or a growing sense of rejection in the home. This is about Lee and their relationship with his father at several points.
  • Maren experiences the trauma of abandonment by her parents over her true nature. Finally, when searching for housing, LGBTQ+ youth endure trauma from stigmatization, peer abuse, and harassment. This is precisely the kind of ostracization indicated in the script being experienced by the main characters.
  • The supporting characters, such as Sully and Jake, are weathered lonely men seeking a community of people just like themselves. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) explains that members of the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to experience mental health issues and loneliness than their cis-peers because of a lack of support system and family rejection.

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