Emma Stone Is Brought Back To Life With A New Brain In This Often Hilarious New Film Poor Things

by Liz Galvao

Director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite) paints a wildly imaginative steampunk fantasy of female and sexual liberation with his latest film, Poor Things. A mad scientist living in Victorian England (Willem Dafoe) brings a woman, Bella (Emma Stone), back to life with a new brain. Bella experiences the world with the wide eyes and naïveté of a complete outsider to societal norms and expectations, and it’s not long before she sets out on an adventure that takes her to several different countries, where she encounters a variety of different men. The film explores themes of sex, control, and power, with lots of absurdity and humor.

Poor Things is visually stunning and dreamlike (the whimsical costumes by designer Holly Waddington are a real treat), but it’s the performances that will surely make it an awards season contender. Mark Ruffalo is hilarious as the rakish, morally suspect lawyer who steals Bella away from her home, and Dafoe is perfectly cast as Bella’s eccentric yet devoted creator. Stone, however, sets a new bar for her already impressive résumé as she embodies Bella, who must navigate life from her rebirth to becoming a more mature woman of the world. Stone seemingly makes a thousand tiny choices in each scene, from Bella’s walk to how she eats a tart, and she’s able to evoke both laughter and horror at once. Poor Things is a dynamic, delightfully original film, and one well worth seeing on a big screen. 

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