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Film Review: Poor Things (2023)

Kelaru & Fulton rating: ★★★★★

Available in cinemas | Runtime: 2hrs 10mins


 

Yorgos Lanthimos, known for his unorthodox storytelling (Dogtooth, The Lob

ster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer), delivers yet another mind-bending cinematic experience with Poor Things. This film, an adaptation of Alasdair Gray's 1992 novel, embarks on a hallucinogenic journey exploring the complexities of feminine development.



Set in a surreal, fictionalised Victorian era London, Poor Things begins in the bizarre mansion of Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). Here, the peculiar setting, complete with hybrid animals, Tim Burton-esque costumes and steam-punk interiors, sets the tone for the film’s eccentric narrative.

At the heart of Poor Things is Emma Stone's spellbinding turn as Bella Baxter - a woman brought back to life Frankenstein-style, with the brain of a child. Stones performance brilliantly captures both the naiveté of a child trapped in an adults body and the complexity of a woman with nuance. Her innocent yet mischievous performance provides frequent laughs as she navigates eccentric characters and perilous situations. The supporting cast, like Mark Ruffalo’s seedy lawyer Duncan Wedderburn, add to the hilarity through committed performances.



Lanthimos’s direction is a masterclass in balancing surrealism with meaningful storytelling. The film’s visual splendour is evident in its juxtaposition of stunning black and white shots with vibrant colour scenes, mirroring Bella’s psychological landscape. Every frame, dialogue, and joke is meticulously crafted, contributing to the film's mesmerising aura.


The film is not just a visual feast; it's an intellectual one too. It challenges viewers to ponder themes of identity, innocence, and the complexities of human nature. Through his avantgarde approach, Lanthimos makes a bold statement in the landscape of contemporary cinema, cementing this film as an instant classic.


Poor Things is a testament to Yorgos Lanthimos's prowess as a filmmaker. It's a surreal, thought-provoking, and thoroughly enjoyable journey that pushes the boundaries of traditional filmmaking, making it a must-watch for anybody seeking films that offer more than just entertainment.



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