Poor Things Review

Image Source: IMDb.com

Movie: Poor Things

Production Company: Element Pictures, TSG Entertainment, Film4 Productions

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Producers: Emma Stone, Ed Guiney, Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrew Lowe

Scriptwriters: Tony McNamara

Main Cast: Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef

Release Date: 12th January 2024

Running Time: 141 minutes

Certificate: 18

Introduction: Yorgos Lanthimo’s latest vision is an extraordinary and hypnotic experience that combines the influence of work of Wes Andersen and David Cronenberg into a beautiful, fantastical spectacle.

Synopsis: Emma Stone plays Bella Baxter, a Frankenstein-esque creation brought to life by Willem Dafoe’s mad scientist Dr. Godwin ‘God’ Baxter, who must navigate the outside world as she comes to discover it.

Analysis: Wow. Just wow. I think it’s save to say that I shot myself in the foot with this one due to the fact that ‘Poor Things’ was my first Lanthimo’s film; not knowing, walking in, that my first film of his would prove to be his most graphic and unflinching work to date. ‘Poor Things’ is a marvelous amalgamation of various different tropes and genres that he sinks his teeth giddily into. On the one hand, we have the artistic beauty and imagery of a Wes Andersen picture, whilst on the other, the physicality and oozy nature of a Cronenberg flick. However different these two may be, they somehow join together to make this mesmeric world of peculiarity that I was utterly sucked into. It’s sense of humour and comedy is also laugh out loud funny.

On a design and technical level, this looked astonishing. Lanthimos has conjured up a world here that is so representative of the story he is telling, each frame connotating it’s wonderfully quirky aesthetic. Hats off to cinematographer Robbie Ryan. I felt an odd sense of nostalgia upon viewing this as I was reminded of a long forgotten and unknown little film entitled ‘Mirrormask’ (directed by Dave McKean) from 2005 that told the story of a young girl having to venture out into a fantastical world and kingdom to retrieve an artifact. From a visual standpoint, I see nothing else that is closer to this film. It is one of the most intriguing and creative pieces of world building I have ever seen in cinema.

Now, how about those performances. Each member of the cast is delivering their best work I have ever seen with at least a couple of Oscar nods coming the way for Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo and maybe Willem Dafoe (both he and Dafoe also received Golden Globe nominations with Ruffalo also winning). Stone bagged the Golden Globe for Best Leading Actress with one of the bravest and most out there performances I have ever seen an actress give on screen (given her win for the role, has that sealed her Oscar?).

Following on from that statement, and I do not wish to make any assumptions, but I do not think (in the slightest) that this is one for the multiplex crowd. Whilst I am aware that ‘The Favourite’ proved to be rather popular, I don’t see this as being the same; at all (they are VASTLY different beasts after all). Do with that what you may, but be very wary of it’s graphic and utterly unafraid nature. I could be wrong, but lets see.

I loved ‘Poor Things’, a handsomely crafted and staggeringly performed tale that we have not really seen the likes of before. A story and film that is not scared of just absolutely going for it (the severity of it’s nature proving this) with the addition of a powerhouse turn out from Emma Stone amidst gorgeous cinematography, and a world that is most mesmerizing to just sit and stare at in awe. Another piece of cinema that has the bravery very few have, a factor that I love. Roll on the Oscars.

In cinemas now.

Overall Rating: 10/10- Perfect

Target Audience: 18+

Content Warning: strong sex, nudity, very strong language

Recommendation: Yes