Friday, June 21, 2024

“Poor Things” is Anything But That

“Poor Things” offers a whimsy, and quiet candor, in every impeccable line of dialogue — you just have to be willing to pay attention amidst all the film’s oddities.

Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things” is one of those films that warrants multiple descriptors: it’s opulent, irreverent, delightful, and unsettling at once. With a wonderfully strange plot, it is absolutely original in its premise; it’s a film you see to be transported into the fantastical worlds cinema can create. While it’s definitely not a family film, or for everyone in that case, it comes highly recommended for those who appreciate films that watch like an obscure art piece hangs. As the the film deals with topics that could offend, including nudity and prostitution, fair warning: but Emma Stone (who plays Bella Baxter) carries each topic with an unparalleled class and dignity.

The plot lands us in the world of the meticulous Dr. Godwin (“God”) Baxter, played by Willem Dafoe. Baxter’s world revolves around scientific discovery, and his greatest experiment is Bella Baxter. As we quickly learn, Bella was in an accident and found by Dr. Baxter, who implanted a newborn baby’s brain into her head to save her life. When she awakens with no memory of her past, Bella must re-learn language, movement, and how to navigate the world. Her journey into “adulthood” unfolds in several parts, and seems to be set in an irrelevant timeframe with cartoonish aesthetics of the past and present. From Lisbon, The Boat, Alexandria, Paris, and “God’s” home, we see her evolve into a strong being of free will — with a slight disinterest in the rules of “polite society.” From the enthrall of discovering music for the first time, to the horror of realizing there are people who do not “lie in feather beds” but rather suffer through life, Bella becomes a force to be reckoned with.

Emma Stone (Bella Baxter) and Mark Ruffalo (Duncan Wedderburn) in “Poor Things” (IMDb). Fans of HBO’s “Euphoria,” Ryan Murphy’s “Nurse Ratched,” and even Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name” will appreciate the way color and music lend to each scene’s mood.

Enough cannot be said about Stone’s vulnerability and comedic timing in this role, which recently won her a Golden Globe; her wide-eyed beauty and uncanny facial expressions suit well the self-discovery of Bella. Her counterparts Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo (Duncan Wedderburn), and Ramy Youssef (Max McCandles) are exceptional too. In particular, Ruffalo shines as a bachelor who has “very little to offer in the way of constancy, just adventure.” His antics throughout the film are over-the-top in the best way.

Overall, “Poor Things” is outlandish yet charming, with a narrative that supports one finding their own way through life or reframing others’ perspectives. It stands in its own element and deserves a spot on your pre-Oscars watchlist.

Movie Times: Click Here

Genre: Comedy/Fantasy

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Actors: Christopher Abbott, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, Emma Stone, Ramy Youssef

Run Time: 2 hrs, 21 min

Rating: R for Strong Pervasive Sexual Content, Graphic Nudity, Disturbing Material, Gore, and Language

Caroline Minchella
Caroline Minchella
Caroline was 15 years old when her family moved to Coronado. Though she was a “transplant”, Caroline found a home in the Coronado community near-immediately: she became an intern for “The Coronado Times”; helped reinstate the CHS newspaper, “The Islander Times”; was a volunteer dog-walker for PAWS; and a faithful Concert in the Park attendee.After completing her BA in English at the University of California Santa Barbara, she went on to craft answers for Amazon Alexa devices and write creatively on the side. Fast forward seven years, Caroline is thrilled to return as a Reporter for “The Coronado Times.” Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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