Poor Things (2023)

director: Yorgos Lanthimos
release-year: 2023
genres: fantasy, horror, comedy
countries: Ireland, UK, USA
languages: English

In this young adult coming-of-age story, a bunch of rich people reenact the tale of Frankenstein in a romance-era horny retro-future.

And boy is it horny there.

Willem Defoe's weird face isn't weird enough, so they make it extra weird, which is nice. He makes for a joyously convincing mad scientist. In reference to his favorite noise rock blues throwback band, he dedicates his life to producing Chicken Dogs.

He also blows bubbles.

Emma Stone's weird face isn't weird enough, so they make everything about her extra weird, which is nice. She hobbles around straight-legged for most of the film because monsters don't bend at the knee.

There are few things more horrific than questioning social mores.

Mark Ruffalo is completely forgiven for his previous missteps in All The Light We Cannot See. Poor Things is surely the highlight of his career so far, in which he plays a slick-talkin', selfish, unethical, womanizing lawyer driven to the brink of madness when roundly trumped in matters of sexual perversion.

Dr. House, unfortunately, does not make an appearance.

Ramy Youssef is a bit bland, but fine. He's just a hook to hang the plot on.

It's unclear if he is morally progressive, or just a horny doormat.

Jerrod Carmichael's acting didn't seem to fit in, but maybe that was intentional, since nothing quite fits in. He has great style, at least. He serves as another plot hook, triggering the monster's transition from child-like naïve optimism into the dark depths of rebellious adolescence.

We're all one short cruise away from a life of prostitution.

The set design is just absolutely fucking killer at all times, and the unconventional cinematography – namely shooting half of the film in drastically distorted wide-angle – is somehow fittingly glorious and never grows old. Some lovely painted transition scenes, too.

This always happens when a filmmaker is suckered into buying a fisheye lens.

The first quarter is filmed in black-and-white, but it breaks out into vibrant color as Emma breaks out of her metaphorical London prison for a trip across a whimsically reinterpreted Europe.

Pasteis de nata have more plot significance than one might expect in a horror fantasy film.

It has a very theatrical style, both in sets and acting. At one point, Ruffalo falls over and leaves his feet kicked up in an awkward angle in a wonderful stage show style.

I would, for sure, watch Poor Things at West End.

It's nice to see Yorgos evolving from the nearly-good level of The Lobster into pure brilliance. You hardly even notice it's 2.5 hours long.

Though it would be nice with an intermission and pasteis de nata…