‘Bones And All’ Ending, Explained: Is It True Love Between Maren And Lee? What Happened To Old Sully? 

Many cinema-goers have named “Bones and All” the “most disgusting” or “the grossest” film they ever saw, but as an avid watcher of body horror films, you see a certain beauty in the “all-consuming” cinematic experience of a Luca Guadagnino film. It is true that not every day we see this particular blend of genres (let’s not forget The Conjuring 2), but what makes this film unique is the tenderness with which it manages to balance romance and horror through the vehicle of a coming-of-age story. Luca, alongside screenwriter David Kajganich, has also truly “adapted” the titular novel by incorporating their own ideas into what they understood from the story. Most readers of books gatekeep their novels from turning into movies because they could go exceptionally bad, and there are certain aspects of the changes done in this story that are questionable. If one watches it without any experience of the novel, it might as well be one of the best body-horror movies of the last five years. “Bones and All” is a thoroughly enjoyable film if one has the appetite for its content, but for many, it may be the most horrific thing they’ve ever seen. Bring a friend to hide behind and a bag for regurgitation purposes if you’d still like to “dig in.”


Spoilers Ahead

‘Bones And All’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

“Bones and All” tells the story of Maren Yearly, an 18-year-old with an appetite for human flesh and no one to guide her in the world. The story begins with Maren visiting a friend’s home for a sleepover, only to succumb to her desire and bite off one of the girls’ fingers. The other girls manage to pull her off, and Maren runs home to her father, who isn’t surprised by her blood-covered face and instead tells her to prepare to leave. With their arrival in a new city, Maren realizes her father has left her all alone with a wad of cash, a cassette, and what seems to be her birth certificate. As she begins to listen to the cassette, she realizes it is a goodbye recording from her father, whom she may never meet again. Seeing her mother’s name on the certificate, she decides to go find her with the money her father left her to get answers to why she is the way she is. On her road trip to find her mother, she encounters a few more people who are like her, “eaters.” One is Sully, a man who seems to be a bit odd but has a helping nature towards Maren, and the other is Lee, the young man she falls in love What with and who changes her entire life. Will Lee and Maren have a happy ending? Is human hunger curable, and what makes them like each other so much?


‘Bones And All’ Ending Explained – What Is The Message Behind Bones And All? Did Lee And Maren Survive Their Horrors? Did Sully Help Maren? 

Even though “Bones and All” has a run time of 2 hours and 10 minutes, there is just so much “to digest” that you don’t find yourself distracted at any point through the film. The end escalated rather quickly, specifically the last 15-20 minutes, which could have your jaw on the floor or have you wishing you hadn’t eaten anything before watching the movie. To unpack the ending, we need to first take a step back and rewind to pick up on the tiny bits that together give us this repugnant finale. A little while after meeting, Lee and Maren start to drive around together, and Maren says she wouldn’t want to hurt anybody, to which Lee replies, “famous last words.” This particular line hits really hard once we know what happens in the end: Maren ends up eating Lee, “Bones and All.” When Lee and Maren accidentally eat a man who has a family with a wife and a little baby, Maren, who constantly thinks with her moral compass and makes herself aware of the ‘monstrous’ nature of her crime, cannot forgive herself but Lee doesn’t empathize as much as he believes it’s the compulsion that makes him do it. A thing that the “experience” of eating more people has brought him. Similarly, when Maren finally finds her mother institutionalized, having eaten up her own hands, she is devastated by the options she has for survival. Lee evidently lays the facts out for her that they can either eat, kill themselves or turn out like her mother in this world. Maren, who does not want to end up like her mother, who has also consumed her own hands so as not to hurt anyone else and previously wrote a letter to Maren stating she would want her dead, is terribly hurt by Lee’s honesty and decides to run away from him. Lee, the one person she believes truly understands of her, has somehow betrayed her feelings, not allowing her to be different from her mother, to be “normal.” After they spend some time apart, Maren realizes that Lee is her only hope in this world where she is so different, and she ends up going back to him. There, she tells him she wants to live a normal life, and Lee agrees. A happy five minutes of the movie play out where all seems to be going swimmingly, and we are watching a true romance between these two beautiful young people, but alas, this is not where it ends. Maren, who is working at a local library, returns to their shared home and sees a peculiar sight on their bed. She is fear-stricken as she looks for Lee, who is nowhere to be found. At that point, Sully appears from behind her and straddles her on the bed. An excruciating scene of genuine horror plays out as we see Sully mentally torture Maren and rest his face on her chest. Lee comes back, and together they manage to wrap his face up in a plastic bag, with Lee choking him and Maren stabbing him. In the process, Lee is hurt, and once Sully is dead, they come to the realization that Lee’s beloved sister has also been eaten by Sully as an act of revenge against Maren, who picked Lee over himself. Lee is devastated and tells Maren that she should eat him whole, bones and all, just as easily as their love is as his dying wish. 

Love And Alienation 

What’s fascinating about this film is that it showcases the estrangement of one in love alongside the loneliness of being “othered” by society. Most people would say that “cannibalism” in this film is a representation of many relatable real-world problems such as addiction, trauma, gender identity, and more, but its loving nature also makes us perceive young love as something that is so passionate, which separates you from the rest of the world. We don’t just see the feverish love Maren and Lee have for each other, but the unconditional love Maren’s father has for her through his recording, where he tells her he loves her even though she is the way she is. Finally, the only way he can continue to “love” her is by leaving her to fend for herself. Through the fact that cannibalism is passed down generationally, we can draw parallels with inherited trauma. If we take the example of abuse, like between Lee’s father and his family, it is something that encompasses the entire family, and to break the circle of abuse (in this case, to protect his family from his father), Lee has to murder and eat him.


Sully’s Obsession With Maren: What Happens When A Person Is Outcast By His Own Community?

When someone is different from others, there are very few ways things can turn out for them. In the case of Maren and Lee, they found each other and survived as a unit rather than as individuals. Sully, on the other hand, had been alone for so long that he couldn’t believe Maren would reject him when he was the only person who could understand her. In the end, he turns into a real “monster” by breaking his rule of not “killing people” and eating Kayla, Lee’s sister, out of spite and not a necessity. Sully is defined by his “eating,” whereas Maren and Lee merely have it as a feature, making them more normal in many ways. What we think this means is that despite their terrible “condition,” they can lead normal lives if they work towards it, probably as rehabilitated addicts. Luca also chooses to beautify the movie by putting Lee and Maren mostly in florals and light colors, just as their rose-tinted love is, but Sully and Jake are seen in darker, dustier colors, something that could imply “different” by nature and “monstrous” by alienation (we know it might be a long stretch).

Lee and Maren are two vulnerable characters who have much to deal with on their own. Maren is stable, and from the get-go, we know she is aware of and faces her trauma through both Lee and her mother. Lee, who never told anyone about how he ate his father, but specifically the fact that he enjoyed doing so, completely gives himself to Maren and unburdens himself, but Maren’s definitive love is untouched as he asks if she thinks he’s bad and she replies that all she knows is that she loves him. “Bones and All” is among the many films of the year 2022 that have broken the bounds of horror (such as “Fresh” and “Barbarian”) to create a piece of art that, even without its deep metaphoric meaning, is a unique and amusing film to watch.


“Bones and All” is a 2022 horror romance film directed by Luca Guadagnino.

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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