With the awards season here, I find myself trying to push my limits and explore movies that normally don’t move the needle for me. I love horror, action, comedy and the occasional documentary. Those are things I find entertaining. Romantic dramas rarely find their way into my Apple TV or DVD player. They just aren’t films I find myself wanting to watch. But being a film critic, I figured it was time I started expanding my horizons and start adding more films to my watch list.

Now on a mission, I went through the stack of screeners I received in the mail. There are some titles in here that I have heard of, like X and Pearl from A24, but most are films that were never on my radar. Thankfully, this huge stack of films was exactly what I needed to break my horror-film addiction.

I came across this one film. Simple box art, featuring a boy and a girl staring at each other, the words, “It’s a Perfect Movie,” adoring the headline section of the cover. Looks like the perfect date movie, where you cuddle up with the one you love to share moments of love, followed by tears, only to end in love again (as the formula for romantic films seems to be).

That film’s name is Bones and All. And I was not prepared for this cinematic offering.

Bones and All follows a young teenage girl name Maren Yearly (Taylor Russell). In the ’80s, Maren and her dad, Frank (Andre Holland), live a very secluded lifestyle, until one night her dad allows her to go to a sleepover. After an incident at the sleepover, Frank and Maren flee, taking only the bare-minimum supplies.

Later, just after her 18th birthday, Maren finds that her dad had abandoned her, leaving behind only a cassette tape and her birth certificate. On the tape, Frank explains much of Maren’s childhood to her, as she had no recollection of the events.

Using the info on her birth certificate, Maren goes on a journey to find her birth mother. Along the way, she meets Lee (Timothée Chalamet), a teenager who has the same inclinations as Maren. Bonding over their condition, Maren and Lee fall in love and set out to complete Maren’s journey to find herself, all while being stalked by a mysterious man named Sully (Mark Rylance).

You might have questions after reading my summary of the story. What exactly is this “condition” that Maren and Lee suffer from? Well, I thought long and hard about this and decided it is in your best interest, as a viewer, to find out for yourself. I know that sounds noble, but in reality, I just want you to be as shocked as I was upon viewing it.

Bones and All lives up to its name. Maren and Lee are very likable and somewhat relatable characters. While I am not a teenager anymore, nor am I in any form of a relationship, their love for one another comes through with each moment they are on the screen. And the character of Sully is equally as creepy. “Creepy” was in fact the first word that came to mind the moment Mark Rylance opened his mouth. Where Maren and Lee are likable, Sully is on the opposite side of the same coin. The writers behind these three individuals did an excellent job of making the viewer feel exactly what was needed for each scene.

Tragic, as well as compelling, Bones and All earns four out of five stars. It’s a semi-horrific story wrapped in love. I felt every emotion that director Luca Guadagnino wanted me to feel. Rarely does that ever happen to yours truly. I am sure once you have had a chance to view this masterpiece, you will feel the same, as well. The movie is a little long, but well worth 120 minutes of your time. Not exactly the date movie of choice, Bones and All will have you hungering for more.