FILM | Poor Things (2023)

Poor Things (2023)
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

I watched Poor Things in the cinema a couple of weeks ago, and I’m going to try my best to encapsulate all the thoughts I had after watching it. It was the first Yorgos Lanthimos film I watched and it definitely isn’t going to be my last. To start, I realized it had been a little while since I’d watched a film so complex, peculiar, entertaining, and thought-provoking.. what other words can I use? You can’t truly explain this film in a single sentence. It’s a flurry of everything, but also such a great analogy of this world – the good and the evil, if you peel back the many layers the film has. Not many would agree with that because you probably have the brain of an ant. I’m kidding. But apart from not agreeing with me, many people might not even like the film at all. It’s not for everyone. It’s very explicit, raw, and uncomfortable for some. But damn, it was for me. I love the f*cked-up stuff that makes me think. So let’s think.

Let’s start off first with the narrative before we get into the fun stuff – a mad scientist, Dr. Godwin, creates a wildly unorthodox experiment to revive a woman, Bella, back to life, but she later runs off with a repulsive lawyer who saw how easy it could be to take advantage of her innocence. There is a lot of layers to it. But ultimately, stepping back and seeing it as a whole, I thought the story was beautifully told. I saw it this way – Bella’s innocence, curiosity, and obliviousness made her act on her own human impulses and desires, leading her into a very perverse obsession, which led her to a man, Duncan, that took advantage of that. Duncan then thought that by taking her out of her home, he could just keep her as his. But NO! Bella’s curiosity of life proved to be her own power. She wanted to see the world, feel things. Isn’t that a lot of us in some way? Though her curiosity led her down a rather dark path, people should realize that someone’s idea of happiness can be totally different from yours. Everyone’s happiness is different, you shouldn’t judge anyone for what path they decide to do because it’s their path, not yours.

I also loved the scene where a woman on the boat kept giving her a book, which Duncan disliked because he knew she would learn more about the world. What that woman was trying to instill in her was philosophy, thinking about the world and yourself, and I love that. The more you know about people and how things are, the more you question, the more wisdom you gain. I gotta say, having philosophy in college really taught me to question life which is how you learn the most! I also thought that what the film was trying to show us is that we have to accept that evil is real and it does exist in the world, and that we do have a role in trying to still do good despite. Bella craved to help people but also needed to learn that good and evil are just a part of life. Good and evil are other topics that will make me go too deep, so we’ll stop at that haha.

Now, let’s talk about the fun stuff.. the creativity! Because wow, this film has a lot of that. Let’s start with the production design. One word… WILD. The production design was insane.. from the sets to the wardrobe. It was all meticulously crafted. The sets were done so peculiarly to make you feel like this was detached from our reality, and they even used 360 LED backgrounds to create that “fake” reality purposely. The wardrobe… wow. I dream of making a film with a wardrobe you can’t forget. It was iconic. All of Bella’s outfits were majestic!!! I couldn’t get enough.

The cinematography was hands down amazing. The wide and low-angle camera work with that distortion was beautiful. It truly made you see their world and the peculiarity of it all. I also took note of this fish eye/360 shot they’d use randomly, and apparently Yorgos used this stylistic decision to make the film really feel like it is slightly detached from reality.

Now, the soundtrack. What an atmosphere that was created for the film! It set the tone and pace of the scenes and was so original. I absolutely enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed it during that iconic dance scene where Bella discovers dancing. That was my favorite scene of the film.

Lastly, the acting. A phenomenal job by all the actors, especially Emma Stone. It isn’t surprising now that she won the Best Actress Oscar. But damn, she became the character, and in so many complex layers! But Willem Dafoe and Mark Ruffalo were just as phenomenal as supports. The casting was really on point.

To end it off, I gotta say.. this film was so incredibly original and it was a breath of fresh air to see such originality. Everything was so crafted well into an iconic cinematic masterpiece. You simply just can’t forget such a film. Hats off. Now, I must go watch Yorgos’ other masterpieces which I should have a long time ago.