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Poor Things

Updated: Jan 6

OK, I officially don't get Director Yorgos Lanthimos. I tried with "The Favourite", hated "The Lobster", but felt like I had to see his latest POOR THINGS due to the critical acclaim and lavish raves pouring down over it non-stop.

This week I've seen it on many "Best Film of the Year" and "Top 10 of 2023" lists.

I almost walked out after 30 minutes due to near fatal boredom, but the film's visuals, which are fantastic, held me in my seat.

This is the twisted, gory, adult and graphic tale of Bella Baxter, a female Frankenstein monster created by Dr. Godwin Baxter (a terrific Willem Dafoe). Using the body of a pregnant woman who leapt off a bridge to her death in the river below, he transplants the brain of the unborn child into the woman's head and voila, creates Bella. Emma Stone is as committed to her performance as any actress I've seen this year, baring all physically and emotionally as the baby in a woman's body.

As she begins rapidly mentally aging, I couldn't help but lose focus and start thinking about another awful movie with the same concept, "Embryo" back in 1976 with Rock Hudson.....oh wait, OK, back to this thing.

As Bella enters her teen and adult years mentally, Lanthimos gives subtle cues this is happening, like having her stuff fruit into her orifices at the breakfast table as the Doctor's animal hybrid experiments wander around the room, including a chicken/pig.

The movie takes giant leaps forward from an entertainment perspective when Mark Ruffalo enters the picture as cad about town Duncan Wedderburn. Lusting after Bella, he convinces her to runaway with him and experience the finest things in life.

Which is basically sex in every position imaginable, interrupted by meals in high society in which Bella spits all her food out and asks old ladies when the last time they got laid.

Their dance scene is the one laugh out loud moment in the film.

Ruffalo is the highlight of the film, sparring with Stone and generating big laughs.

Their adventures take place in a Steampunk, technicolor version of Victorian Europe that is jaw dropping to look at in every scene. The sky is fantastic. This was my favorite section of the film, right through and including Bella's revelation about the poor.

Alas, she then takes a job in a brothel to take ownership of her sexuality AND make some coin at the same time. The tiny Madame of the house is a fascinating character named Swiney, perfectly played by Kathryn Hunter.

Lanthimos has no desire to let you get comfortable with anything resembling a conventional film. He cuts to graphic autopsies when you least expect it, has a Father come in with his two young sons to watch him have sex with Bella as an education, shows Dr. Godwin belching up tennis ball sized bubble of gas that float over the dinner table and explode.....

Jerskin Fendrix's music score fits the film perfectly, atonal, punishing and grating, it's nearly impossible to listen to outside the context of the film.

Where many see incredible, visionary beauty, I just see Lanthimos pushing buttons and throwing a ton of crap against the frame to see what sticks.

To me, he's a David Lynch wannabe constantly pushing the limits of American puritanical attitudes about sex and empowerment. I get it. I got it the first time.

I want to go back and watch Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" again to cleanse my palette from this overstuffed, overpraised mess.

For me, POOR THINGS describes the audience.

The guy that sat next to me in the theater yesterday must have gasped out loud (loudly) in wonderment at least twenty times, adoring every shocking moment.

I wanted to ask him if he'd been to the movies before.

This will be the last time I waste my time on a Lanthimos film, three strikes, you're out.

POOR THINGS gets a D, due solely to the visual creative team, along with Dafoe, Stone and especially Ruffalo, working wonders in the middle of this ridiculous mess.

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Unknown member
Dec 31, 2023

Now I know to skip Poor Things. Being a member of George At The Movies is already saving me money.

Unknown member
Dec 31, 2023
Replying to

AND two hours of your life you could never get back. LOL Happy New Year!