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Poor Things – Yorgos Lanthimos (2023)

What a wonderfully weird film! Lanthimos has made some weird films that I had a hard to to find to watch, but later on he managed to get actors such as Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman and I suppose that made his star rise to the height he deserves.

Willem Dafoe looks even weirder than in “The Lighthouse” as scientist who was both the student and the test subject of his father. He looks quite like Frankenstein in this Frankenstein-type story. Godwin (abbreviated to “God”) is not the ‘Frankenstein’ in this film though. Godwin Baxter found the body of a pregnant woman who threw herself off a bridge. He decides that his next experiment will be to transplant the brains of an unborn child into the body of a grown woman. So, Bella (played by Emma Stone) came to be.

Bella appears to be a retarded young woman, but -as mentioned- she is actually a woman with a child’s brain that is still in development. Baxter tries to keep her close in order to create a scientifically save testing environment. As her brain develops, Bella becomes more independent.

Bella goes on an adventure, first to Portugal and later to other countries in Europe and Northern Africa. There she learns the ways of sex, people and the world, but still with an undeveloped brain. Indeed, there is quite a bit of sex in the film, but not as much nudity as some reviewers suggest.

The whole story is set in a beautiful 1920’ies looking future thus giving the film a surrealistic atmosphere that you may know from directors such as Jeunet, Burton or Lee. Perhaps it is also this somewhat more familiar strangeness that allows “Poor Things” to be played in ‘regular cinemas’.

In any case, Stone is both childish and alluring, some of the scenes are beautiful, there are critical looks on modern life, odd dialogues and a very rapid coming of age.

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