Poor Things is a romance and science fiction film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and produced by Emma Stone, who also acts in the film. Based on the book of the same name by Alasdair Grey and referencing the classic Frankenstein, the story is set in the Victorian era and follows Bella Baxter, played by Emma Stone, who is brought back to life after her brain is replaced by that of her unborn child. The experiment is carried out by Doctor Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe), a brilliant but unorthodox scientist. In addition to Stone and Dafoe, the cast also includes Mark Ruffalo, Jerrod Carmichael, Ramy Youssef, Christopher Abbott, Margaret Qualley, Kathryn Hunter, Suzy Bemba and Wayne Brett. Poor Things raises a number of fascinating debates and discussions about identity, the role and importance of women in society, scientific ethics and, above all, freedom, and what it means to be free in both private and public spheres. The film also challenges the norms and expectations of a society that is used to judging and limiting people based on their choices, especially when it comes to sex, which is usually considered a private matter. But what if it were the other way around? And that’s exactly what Poor Things presents us with: a society that goes outside the norm with the presence of a character, which in this case is Emma Stone’s Bella Baxter.
Yorgos Lanthimos adopts a different way of telling the story of s, where he gives the protagonist full focus. This decision makes Emma Stone’s character (Bella Baxter) very strong and also allows the viewer to enter Bella’s journey and thus feel the fun and especially the drama with the protagonist, because Bella has no kind of “filter” within society. Bella Baxter is a character who ends up questioning society as a whole, touching on various topics that would be particularly “private”, such as sex in the case of the movie. Willem Dafoe’s character (Doctor Godwin Baxter) always manages to steal the show when he appears, becoming the big star and the spectacle when watching the film. Even though he’s not as much of a protagonist as Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe manages to convey the drama and also the humorous tone of the film on screen. Unlike other films out there, Willem Dafoe’s character (Doctor Godwin Baxter) breaks the “mad scientist” stereotype, and Doctor Godwin Baxter makes the audience feel comfortable when they see him doing some kind of experiment. Poor Things is a movie about deconstruction, a movie with different perspectives on a society full of customs, first addressing the concept of freedom, which would be the counterpoint: am I free to really speak my mind? This is answered by the protagonist Bella Baxter (Emma Stone), who embarks on this journey through various countries together with Duncan Wedderburn, a supporting character played by Mark Ruffalo, and the answer to the concept of freedom would be that you can never say exactly what you think or act the way you think, because you or people would be judged for doing something that would not be customary in our society, people would limit you, society in this case where there are moral arguments, ethical arguments, and also a society made up of hypocrisy.
Emma Stone’s character makes exactly the transition from something private to something public, where the main theme is sex. Emma Stone is exceptional as Bella Baxter when dealing with sex with a satire by director Yorgos Lanthimos that is developed mainly by the discomfort for example things that could not be spoken aloud because it would cause some kind of embarrassment and discomfort, while the protagonist evolves in the story she is very interested in sexual relationships in a way where she also desperately seeks to understand how society does not understand this debate. The movie is one of Emma Stone’s greatest works because you can see an evolution in her character from the first scene to the last, not only in her walk and attitude, but also in her look, her posture and the way she looks at certain characters in the movie.
Poor Things ends up having a division of chapters that deal with the places the main character ends up visiting, these places bring embarrassing situations, some joyful situations, and also bring a series of lessons for the protagonist in this sense the logic of the satire is supported by the way the protagonist interacts with some supporting characters, As an example, Mark Ruffalo’s character has the most screen time and ends up being extremely important, unlike Willem Dafoe’s case, which has a whole logic of discourse where you end up questioning scientific ethics and also end up analyzing this character’s morality, which is very good, but unfortunately ends up being left out a little in the film’s plot. The art direction in Poor Things and the construction of the different sets in Poor Things is phenomenal and there are no mistakes whatsoever. The movie is a long journey, with several exceptional characters, some left out, but nothing that really gets in the way of your cinematic experience, the standard of quality of Poor Things is something beyond the ordinary, bringing all its attention to its protagonist (Emma Stone). Finally, Poor Things ends up discussing several controversial cases that have caused public discomfort, but this only makes Yorgos Lanthimos one of the best films of 2023, with an extraordinary and unique satire.
Poor Things releases in theaters on December 8