BONES AND ALL*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film opens at a high school in Virginia, where Maren Yearly (Taylor Russell) is met by her friend Sherry (Kendle Coffey). She invites Maren to her house for a sleepover, but Maren says her father would not let her. Sherry suggests she sneak out.
Maren lives with her father, Frank (Andre Holland). After he falls asleep, Maren sneaks out and goes to Sherry’s house, where she is hanging out with two other girls, Kim (Madeleine Hall) and Jackie (Ellie Parker). Kim asks Maren about her mother, but she doesn’t have an answer. Sherry paints Kim’s fingernail with scented nail polish. Maren grabs Kim’s hand and begins to bite down on her finger. She pulls herself away and leaves Kim’s finger mangled and chewed up. Maren runs home as the girls begin screaming. She pounds on the door, and Frank sees Maren with Kim’s blood on her face, realizing what has happened. He gives her three minutes before they have to leave for good.
Maren and Frank move to Maryland, but Frank abandons Maren while she sleeps. He leaves her with a tape recording, telling her that this is not the first time she has tried to consume human flesh and that he can no longer protect her for it. In the recording, he talks about separate incidents, such as when Maren was three and chewed up her babysitter badly enough to kill her, and Frank had to hide her body. Maren did the same to a boy at camp when she was 8.
Maren plans to head to Ohio to find her birth mother, Janelle May Kearns. On her travels, she is met by a man who calls himself Sully (Mark Rylance). He tells her that he smelled her, and he knows that she can smell him, too, as he is also a cannibal (or “eater”). He brings Maren to a house where an old woman has fallen over and hasn’t been able to get up all day, which Sully knows is a sign that she is about to die, and he smelled it. Although Maren is horrified, he tells her that their hunger for flesh must be taken care of.
In the morning, the old woman dies, and Sully wastes no time in eating her. He invites Maren to join him, and she obliges. Sully shows Maren a long rope made of hair from the people he’s eaten (or outright killed). While Sully takes a shower, Maren runs away and hops on a bus, but Sully catches sight of her as she leaves.
Maren stops in another state and goes to a store where she attempts to shoplift some products. She sees a mother being harassed by another man (Sean Bridgers). Maren speaks up to him, as well as a nearby young man, Lee (Timothee Chalamet). Lee gets in the man’s face and taunts him, causing the man to follow him outside. Maren goes to a nearby abandoned building where she sees Lee emerging with his face and neck caked in the man’s blood, as he is also a cannibal. Maren talks to Lee, acknowledging they share the same condition, and Lee invites Maren to join him as he steals the man’s truck.
Lee drives Maren to stay at the man’s home for the night. The next day, they drive to Lee’s old home to see his sister Kayla (Anna Cobb). She chastises Lee for leaving and not sticking around like he previously promised.
Lee agrees to help Maren get to her mother. On their travels, they begin to fall in love with one another. As they stop to rest, they are met by two men, Jake (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Brad (David Gordon Green). Jake is also a cannibal, but Brad isn’t, though he doesn’t have a problem with it. Jake tells Maren and Lee about how consuming a person, “bones and all,” makes a cannibal feel more than they normally do when they merely consume the flesh. Maren and Lee wait for the men to fall asleep, and they head to steal Jake’s truck. He wakes up and sees them, but the two drive away quickly before they are caught.
Maren and Lee stop at a carnival, where they kiss on a Ferris wheel before Maren tells Lee she is hungry. He goes to scout out a potential meal when he comes across a snotty booth operator (Jake Horowitz) who denies a kid a prize because he made an underhand throw. Lee tries his hand at it, and the booth operator is more kind and flirtatious with Lee. They make plans to meet later after he closes up.
Maren hides nearby as she watches Lee bring the booth operator into a cornfield, where they begin to make out. Lee masturbates the booth operator and slits his throat before he climaxes, then invites Maren to feast off him. Moments later, they see the booth operator had come from a nearby house, where he has a wife and child. Maren is mortified at what they have done, and she flees from Lee.
Maren continues her travels alone and meets her grandmother Barbara (Jessica Harper). She reluctantly invites Maren inside as she asks Barbara questions regarding Janelle. Barbara says that Janelle is no longer with them, but she clarifies that it doesn’t mean she’s dead, just that she now resides in a mental hospital. Maren also promises never to visit Barbara again, which she is thankful for. On her way out, she is met by Sully again, who has been following her. When he invites her to join him again, she rejects him, and he angrily calls Maren a cunt.
Maren makes it to the hospital where Janelle (Chloe Sevigny) is staying at. She doesn’t speak much and has chewed off her own hands. The nurse gives Maren a letter that Janelle wrote years earlier, specifically for Maren. The letter details Janelle’s ordeal as a cannibal and how she didn’t feel that Maren was safe around her. Not long after Maren finishes reading the letter, Janelle makes an attempt to attack and eat Maren until the nurse holds her back, prompting Maren to run away.
Maren later comes across Kayla and her friends. She stops to talk to Kayla about Lee. Kayla mentions that they lived with their father, but he had disappeared mysteriously, which is why Kayla felt angry that Lee left her. Maren later reunites with Lee and asks him about his father. He tells her that he was abusive to him and Kayla, so he ate him. The two resume their relationship and try to live a normal life together.
After a few months together, Maren and Lee are living peacefully until they are found by Sully. He attacks Maren and holds a knife to her, trying to force her to go with him until Lee wraps a plastic bag around Sully’s head. Sully stabs Lee in the chest, but Maren is able to wrestle the knife away from Sully, and she begins to stab him. They pull his body into the bathtub, where Maren digs into Sully’s body and pulls out one of his organs to eat, which Sully is alive for long enough to witness until he finally passes.
Lee finds that he is severely bleeding, as Sully punctured his lung. Maren also finds Sully’s hair rope and finds a lock of blonde hair, indicating that he killed Kayla and was able to find Maren this way. Maren attempts to help Lee get up so that they can get help, but they know that they cannot get help from a hospital without explaining their circumstances, so Lee tells Maren to eat him. She does so while he is still alive.
The last shot is of Maren and Lee sometime earlier, sitting on a rock while holding each other.
Maren Yearly is a cannibal whose father abandons her when he can no longer protect her from her urges. On her travels, she meets an older cannibal, Sully, who wants her to join him, but his barbaric nature puts her off and sends her running. She meets a young man, Lee, who is also a cannibal, and the two begin a romantic relationship.
Lee helps Maren get closer to finding her mother, Janelle Kearns. On their way, Lee seduces and kills a carnival worker for him and Maren to eat, but she is mortified when she learns the man had a wife and child. She runs away and tracks down Janelle, who is in a mental hospital for her cannibalism. When Maren meets her, Janelle attempts to eat her before she is subdued.
Maren comes across Lee's sister Kayla, who tells her about how Lee ran away from home after their father disappeared. When Maren finds Lee again, he tells her that he ate their father because he was abusive to him and Kayla. Maren and Lee resume their relationship until they are found by Sully, who is implied to have killed Kayla to get to them. Maren and Lee kill Sully, and she eats part of him, but Sully had fatally stabbed Lee in the chest and punctured his lung. Seeing no way for him to get help, Lee allows Maren to eat him.