Posts Tagged ‘Kathryn Hunter’

Carving with Compassion

Poor Things

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Cast: Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, Margaret Qualley, Christopher Abbott, Jerrod Carmichael, Kathryn Hunter

Running Time: 2 hours and 21 minutes

Film Rating: 9 out of 10

Please note this film contains explicit sex and nudity

Think Mary Shelley’s cinematic version of Frankenstein with Salvador Dali as the production designer and that is how one should view the gorgeous and gawky masterpiece that is Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos latest Gothic Victorian dark comedy Poor Things starring an absolutely superb Emma Stone in the role of a lifetime as the creation Bella Baxter, a recreated creature with the impulses of a child and the body of a lithe, sexually rapacious young woman.

At the heart of Poor Things is the sexual, sociological journey of Bella Baxter, a Victorian experiment who gets whisked away from her macabre overprotective creator and keeper Godwin expertly played by Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (Shadow of a Vampire) by the dashing cad Duncan Webberburn, a star performance complete with a posh accent a desire to please polite society by Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) as he takes her sometimes forcibly from a grey and grim London to an iridescent and lavish Lisbon and then from Lisbon aboard a ship to Alexandria.

While Bella is entranced initially by the elegant Duncan Webberburn particularly in the film’s iconic dance sequence which is absolutely enthralling, Bella soon learns that Duncan actually starts behaving like every other man in her life so far, over-protective, possessive and deeply controlling. Duncan starts acting petulant when Bella takes his money and unknowingly gives it away, supposedly to the destitute in Alexandria and soon they both literally become poor things.

While landing up penniless in Paris, Bella discovers the economic advantages of a Parisian boudoir where she can get paid for sex so that she can become her own economic entity.

Back in London, Godwin creates another creature lacking in emotional while him and his protégé Mark McCandles played by Ramy Youssef pine for Bella’s illustrious return and soon via letters she learns that she needs to return to London while abandoning the overtures of a demented rejected Duncan. It is at this juncture that the brilliant and wacky storyline, takes a bizarre turn, thanks to a superb screenplay by Tony McNamara and Alasdair Gray whose novel the film is based upon.

With captivating production design by Shona Heath and James Price and beautiful cinematography by Robbie Ryan, Poor Things expands on some of director Yorgos Lanthimos fascination with female emancipation and male folly which he began so cleverly in The Favourite and now expands with a broader, brighter and utterly bizarre canvas. This surrealist film is filled with illustrious characters, beautifully mingling fantasy with sexual emancipation, death with desire and revenge coupled with a coroner’s careful carving up of cadavers with compassion and medical ingenuity.

Poor Things is certainly not a film for everyone, it will fascinate viewers and repel them in equal measures but as a mesmerizing cinematic experience it is dazzling, daunting and delightful. At the heart of this unique, bizarre Victorian melodrama are three exceptional performances by Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe. Ultimately Bella Baxter gets her revenge and becomes her own means of production.

Poor Things gets a film rating of 9 out of 10 and is utterly bizarre, repulsively fascinating and a cinematic experience that no one will forget. Recommended for those that love challenging films.

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