The trailer for Emma Stone’s new film is giving off hard Frankenstein vibes. From filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and actor/producer Emma Stone comes the fantastical tale of Bella Baxter (Stone), a young woman brought back to life by an unorthodox scientist, Dr. Godwin Baxter (a prosthetic covered Willem Dafoe). Based on the book by Alasdair Gray, Poor Things follows Bella as she plots a course to freedom. Hungry for some *erm* ‘worldliness’, Bella runs off with the slick, debauched lawyer Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo), on a whirlwind hedonistic adventure. Free from the prejudices of her times, Bella grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.
Lanthimos is certainly an interesting dude. You’re going to actually want to do the homework on this one and catch up with some of his previous films, including The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and The Favourite (also starring Stone).
The director’s signature dark humour takes a little getting used to, as do his films’ dystopian-style conflicts and the (often absurd) characters who populate them. Hang on for the ride and you’ll likely find his work a rewarding and hilarious experience.
The Lobster is a great place to start. In that film, Colin Farrell has just 45 days to find a mate or he’ll be transformed into an animal of his choice and released into the wild. Lanthimos’ darkly satirical films provoke questions about freedom, sex, loneliness, and social norms. Based on the first trailer, Poor Things seems set to follow suit in what might be Lanthimos’ most unconventional film to date.
In the trailer, a child-like Bella is introduced to Mr. McCandless, who she immediately bops on the nose. The voice of Willem Dafoe explains, “She’s an experiment. Her brain and her body are not quite synchronised, but she is progressing at an accelerated pace.” We see some of Bella’s origins, as well as her adventures through a colourful and surreal Victorian era landscape.
In a recent interview with Vogue, Lanthimos explained that, “Unfortunately, it took me a while to be able to put the film together, because at the time, I hadn’t made an English-language film. I made The Lobster later, and it was a long process to prove to myself that I could make English-language films and have them do well. After the relative success of The Favourite, where I actually made a slightly more expensive film that was successful, people were more inclined to allow me to do whatever it is that I wanted, so I just went back to Gray’s book and said, ‘This is what I want to do.’ It was a long process, but the book was always on my mind.”
Searchlight Pictures is releasing the film in Australian cinemas 12 October, 2023. Check out the film’s first trailer above.
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