The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

Poor Things is the Sadistic Fairytale Masterpiece We Have Been Waiting For

AP Images
“Poor Things” cast celebrating their two wins at the 81st Golden Globes.

“Poor Things,” the mind-bending new film from acclaimed director Yorgos Lanthimos’, reanimates the classic tale of Frankenstein to fit a steampunk feminist lens starring Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo.

“Poor Things” follows Bella Baxter (Emma Stone), the former socialite resurrected by the renowned, off-beat surgeon Goodwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe) who originates hybrid animals and performs odd surgeries for his students. Functioning with a toddler’s brain, Bella experiences her world with a depraved naivety which serves as the driving force for the rest of the film.

Bella is confined to the London home she shares with her creator, whom she refers to as “God.” Joining the atypical duo to study Goodwin’s development is eager student of his, Max McCandless (Ramy Youssef). During his observations of Bella, McCandless develops a keen interest in her and, with the permission of Goodwin, proposes to her.

Bella then meets the controlling licentious lawyer Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo) who makes inflated promises to show Bella the world. The pair run off together despite protest from both Goodwin and Max.

The film details the decline of the pair’s relationship as they explore the vibrant neo-Victorian sets perfectly put to use by set designer Shona Heath.

The electrifying sound stages used throughout the rest of the film cleverly highlight the freedom that Bella is experiencing when compared to the noir, drab setting that takes up the first hour of the film. 

Paired with eccentric Vivienne Westwood-esque costumes by Holly Waddington, the film perfectly submerges the viewer into the wonderfully crafted technicolor fever dream via avant-garde fashion.

The pure futuristic fantasia of the sets and costumes paired with proper Victorian language made an exceptionally stimulating combination that keeps the film feel like a classic despite its 2023 release.

Tony McNamara’s script is nothing short of genius. Having been adapted from the Alsadir Gray novel of the same name, McNamara has engineered a script so witty and engrossing it ends up electrifying the film. McNamara’s juxtaposition of Victorian diction mixed with modern day debauchery made the theater erupt with laughter.

Stone delivers a perfectly eccentric performance as the baldish protagonist. Her wit and charming cluelessness light up the film and turn the near two and a half hour runtime into a delightfully short experience that left me wanting more. Stone perfectly performs the transformation of Bella in a way that proves the Oscar winning actress is one of the most talented in modern Hollywood.

Supporting performances from Jerrod Carmicheal and Christopher Abbot only enhance the sheer star power radiating from the film’s top cast. Abbot delivers a strikingly memorable villain performance that’s only bound to enhance the brilliant actor’s already rising notoriety.

The film’s feminist message of freedom and self-expression without any societal judgment is conveyed perfectly and subtly, unlike some other films that came out this year.

Bella is essentially reborn; stripped away from her previous socialite status, she is able to make her own perception of society. This narrative allows us to witness a woman’s journey in Victorian society declaring independence from the dominant men in her life. Bella’s plight is timeless, which is what makes the film’s message all the more poignant.

Thanks to Stone’s career-defining performance, the satirization of Victorian “proper society” creates wonderful moments that keeps the film wildly engaging and enthralling as Bella carelessly breaks the centuries-old rules put in place by society.

“Poor Things” is gross, wicked, and funny. With delicious scenery and radical fashion, it was hard for me to look away from the screen during the film’s runtime. “Poor Things” should be sued for false advertising; it was nothing short of perfection.

About the Contributor
Owen Anderson, Staff Writer
Owen Anderson is a senior and a second-year journalism student. He is a second-year member of EHS Yearbook holding the position of co-managing editor. He plans to major in English on a pre-law track. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, writing reviews for movies on Letterboxd and reading. One thing about Owen is that he has a blasé attitude about anything, yet has a strong opinion on everything, even topics he is not quite informed on.