April 22, 2024

POOR THINGS (2023) – Mind-Numbing in a bad way. Tasteless and vulgar.

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Rating: ⭐ 1/2

Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Thing is a movie that takes place in a bizarre and surreal version of the real world, set in an undefined time period that implies the Victorian era. Its story seems to draw inspiration from Frankenstein, as the central character, Bella, is a young woman who was brought back to life by an eccentric scientist, with the brain of an infant. But unlike the monstrous appearance of Frankenstein, Bella, as played by Emma Stone is naturally beautiful and far more intelligent as she develops her mind at an impressive rate, absorbing new knowledge and forming her own opinion as she ventures out to the world.

Initially, Poor Things comes across as a visual spectacle with its colourful costumes and sets and some over the top camerawork. Even though the script is filled with humour, the imagery and use of black and white with colour, and unusual camera angles, insinuate arthouse movie. Frustration kicks in as the story progresses with Bella showing increasing fondness of having sex. As the sexual nature of the character grows out of control, Emma Stone’s performance takes on the downhill path as her scenes become increasingly degrading. She is made to appear naked or half naked most of the time, make supposedly innocuous vulgar comments about the human sexual organs, masturbate with strange objects, and perform sex in multiple positions with all sorts of unattractive men. To say that she is doing this in the name of art, and that they were vital to the film’s storyline is pure bollocks. Watching these scenes felt uncomfortable and to the verge of being exploitative. Even though one of the themes of the movie may be the tired and the often allude to theme of feminism and what it means to be a woman, that should not be an excuse for all these sexual perversions. I found it laughable that the plot insinuates that much of what Bella learns about life was from her days spent fornicating in the Parisian brothel!! At least Mark Ruffalo provided some moments of comic relief with his performance as the eccentric and love-struck lawyer who takes Bella to explore the world.

Poor Things is a movie that you either love or hate. For me, it has got to be the latter because I just could not “get it”. The costumes and set design were gorgeous, the camerawork imaginative, but all these seem hollow when the storyline and characters come across as tasteless and classless entertainment. I cannot understand why this film has generated so much accolades with an astounding 11 Academy Awards nominations. It’s star Emma Stone has been winning the Best Actress awards from major award shows (BAFTA, Critics Choice Award, and Golden Globe), and is a favourite to win the Oscar come March 11 when the Academy Awards ceremony takes place. What an embarrassment to win something for a role that is akin to soft porn! I am hoping she doesn’t win. Emma Stone is a very talented actress and she can do much better work than this. For heaven’s sake let the poor thing win for something more dignified.

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