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.

“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 that 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 an 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. 

With eccentric Vivienne Westwood-esque costumes by Holly Waddington, the film submerges the viewer into the 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 feeling 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 electrifies the film. McNamara’s juxtaposition of Victorian diction and modern-day debauchery made the theater erupt with laughter.

Stone delivers an 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 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 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 engaging and enthralling as Bella carelessly breaks the centuries-old rules put in place by society.

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