Where to Watch: Theaters
Tony McNamara, Alasdair Gray
Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe
All media courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director Yorgos Lathimos makes some of modern cinema’s most beautiful, horrific, and experimental films. Every film is a unique story intertwined with terror. ‘Poor Things’ is no exception.
Bella Baxter (Emma Stone) Is a reanimated dead woman. She was reanimated by the hands of Dr. Goodwin Baxter, whom she calls “God”. This is the story of the evolution of Bella, through her learning how to be a woman in her society, and in her explorations across the country. There is so much more to this story than meets that description, but I don’t want to give it away.
I loved this terrifying and charming movie. Emma Stone may have just sealed an Oscar win for Best Actress (yes, she’s THAT good). Bella undergoes such a transformation from beginning to end that it takes an incredible actor to do it without feeling ridiculous or forced. Emma Stone is a force of nature.
Willem Dafoe continues to impress me with his supporting performance which is both heartbreaking and full of love. His prosthetic work done by Molly J Bowen-Schofield is awards-worthy. Dr. Baxter and Bella have a loving father-daughter relationship that feels warm and powerful. Other supporting characters played by Rami Yusef and Mark Ruffalo played two sides of the same coin of how men react to women, what attracts them to Bella, and how that in turn shapes her worldview. There can be so much discussion just around this dynamic and is explored very well.
Now, this is the important disclaimer. Yorgos Lathimos films are a “vibe”. You will be seeing lots of blood, violence, and sexual content that you might not be prepared for without being given proper warning. That being said, it is all in service of the story- and while it may not be for everyone, I found the art of all of the moments to be substantial.
I can go on about the costume design, the sets, and how beautiful the visual and practical effects were particularly certain wide landscapes while out at sea. This would easily be a miss with the wrong team behind and in front of the camera, but more than anything this is Emma Stone’s film, and one can only assume she’ll be carrying it into awards season with multiple nominations.