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Poor Things(2023)(Review)

Director Yorgos Lanthimos has established himself as a man with a particular taste. His stories are always surreal, darkly humorous, and often have a running theme comparing animals to men. His newest feat is an adaptation of a Scottish novella of the same name, and it has garnered academy awards and widespread acclaim.

‘Poor Things’ tells the story of Bella Baxter (played by Emma Stone) – who has the body of a full-grown woman but the brain of an infant. The story itself explains how literal this is thanks to the mad mind of scientist Godwin Baxter (played by Willem Defoe) – who keeps this experiment of his locked up in his mansion, to observe her growing and learning, all whilst keeping her safe. But when Godwin allows a student of his, Max, to supervise Bella and let her engage in human interaction, he begins to fall in love with her. And before we know it, Bella has run away from home with another potential suitor – a businessman named Duncan (played by Mark Ruffalo), and he wants to show her the world.

The story is a well-gestating feat of adventure, innocence and wonder, sexual exploration, and a continuous question of why things operate as they do. It’s witty and funny to see Emma Stone acting like an actual toddler for most of the film (having temper tantrums, understanding reality, speaking almost the minimum) while also throwing challenging material at the viewer. There’s a big emphasis on sexual liberation and power, as well as the very basic reality of the joy we can get from it – which a lot of general audiences aren’t comfortable with when talking about a woman with the brain of a baby. But it’s a movie that feels powerful to witness, and the general consensus seems to be a majority of women who all feel like this is one of those films that speaks for them in a way that isn’t often represented – so it’s a good exercise on pushing boundaries while providing a fun journey.

We haven’t even gotten into the gorgeous production design, the fluid colors, and the wonderful music that carry this film. It takes place in a universe that feels familiar and alien at the same time, and the director has no interest in explaining anything to you. You learn to accept it, and by extension – love it. If you’re familiar with his earlier works then you already know the vibe I’m talking about.

It’s a movie with charm, amazing actors, creative eyes behind the lens, and is the talk of the town due to the awards it has garnered. I encourage you to take the ride, it’s one hell of a fun time.

“Poor Things” is currently streaming on Hulu.

‘Til Next Time,
Mike Cleopatra

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