Movie Review: Poor Things - One Of The Most Interesting, Strange, Artistic, And Best Movies Of 2023

in CineTV2 months ago

Based on Alasdair Gray's novel, Poor Things is a punk version of Frankenstein that turns into a deeply feminist tale about the right to control your own body and mind.

Bella is a young girl who tried to take her own life by jumping off London's Tower Bridge. Her plans are interfered with in the most brazen way: the eccentric but undoubtedly brilliant scientist Goodwin Baxter heroically pulls her body from the water and revives her in a way that could only have been born of his fevered imagination. Alive but with a child, Bella Baxter begins to explore the world anew, and soon embarks on a journey full of sexual discovery through the surreal 19th century.

In the beginning, she is a small child trapped in a woman's body, barely able to move and communicating only in shouts. Locked in the house of her creator, a scientist called God, she grows faster and faster from a baby to an independent person every day. Like all teenagers, the girl wants to experience not only home, but also the wide world with all its dangers and pains.

The opportunity is offered by lawyer Duncan, who sneaks in to kidnap Bella for a trip to Europe. Already at home, the girl who discovered the possibility of giving herself physical pleasure learns to take pleasure from Duncan.

From knowing herself as a body, Bella's awareness shifts to existential questions. It's just that it's not happening with the usual barely perceptible slow progress, but with huge leaps. Bella is both a child and a lover, the center of the universe and a small economic unit experiencing global inequality.

First, it is useful to define the framework of the genre. There have already been hundreds of such in the history of cinema and there will be hundreds more, because maturity, like love, happens to the absolute majority of us anyway. Coming-of-age films follow the stage when a child becomes an adult. Usually, this change is caused by a discrepancy between childish expectation and the painful reality, which accepts you not as a child, but as an adult.

Bella's experience of the world is marked by constant overload. When Bella is curious about her body, she immediately dives into sex with great thirst. When she first eats the Portuguese delicacy, she immediately eats it to the point of vomiting. Having started to reflect on the world through language, she fills sentences with meaningless words. Looks like it's a time when natural maturity no longer has a chance to happen, because all experiences associated with puberty have already been drowned out by an aestheticized, non-stop flow of information.

This is opposed by the desire of its creator to close the protagonist and isolate him from the world. This desire to close, on the one hand, is very simply read as a metaphor for male power to imprison a woman. Only hardly completely accurate, because Bella is not only a woman, she is also a small child. Hence, "close" can be read as "protect".

The main characters become the main advantage, without whom the charisma and well-written dialogues for them would not have such a strong effect. And there are also the curious situations and extremely macabre dramatic form of this story. So, from the very beginning of the film, the audience gets a great opportunity to identify with the characters and dive into the backstage of the world seen by each of them through an emotionally affecting psychological prism.

Aesthetically, the film often steps into the field of the grotesque - the esthetics of disgust and taboo elements (cruelty, openly naked bodies, shadows of incest and pedophilia) are combined with often not very subtle humor.

At the same time, the film repeatedly makes us think about physical beauty - here we see almost the entire amplitude of people's physical beauty. Various, physically beautiful people from various walks of life are depicted. Generally speaking, it seems that from the taboo zone in the 19th century, the themes that began to emerge at the end of this day are able, if not to shock, at least to excite and surprise.

Poor Things is undoubtedly a unique, original, outstanding work. This film is not for everyone - in its strangeness it fascinates, surprises, makes you sigh and laugh, gives the feeling that we are not of this Earth, but it is also an uncomfortable film that deals with difficult philosophical topics such as the relationship between God and the beast in man, progress, the existence of the soul, the relationship between morality and science, the concept of a good person.


With love @madeirane
Photos are screenshots of the movie.
© 2024