Poor Things (2023) – Movie Review/Summary

“Poor Things” is a bizarre dark comedy featuring a coming-of-age story and the sexual awakening of a woman given a second chance at life.


Community Rating: 0.00% (0) - No Community Ratings Submitted (Add Yours Below)

Read our Editorial Guidelines regarding how posts are written and rated and our use of affiliate links.


Emma Stone as Bella in Poor Things (2023)

“Poor Things” is a bizarre dark comedy featuring a coming-of-age story and the sexual awakening of a woman given a second chance at life.

Read our Editorial Guidelines regarding how posts are written and rated and our use of affiliate links.

General Information

Director(s)

Yorgos Lanthimos

Screenplay By

Tony McNamara

Based On Work By

Alasdair Gray

Date Released

December 7, 2023

How To Watch

In Theaters

Genre(s)

Comedy, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi, LGBT+

Film Length

2 Hours 21 Minutes

Content Rating

Rated R

Noted Characters and Cast

Bella

Emma Stone

Godwin

Willem Dafoe

Max

Ramy Youssef

Duncan

Mark Ruffalo

Content Rating Explanation

  • Dialog: Cursing throughout
  • Violence: Minor gun violence
  • Sexual Content: Male and female nudity, as well as a multitude of sex scenes
  • Miscellaneous: Drinking, smoking, depiction of

Plot Summary

Emma Stone as Bella in Poor Things (2023)
Emma Stone in POOR THINGS. Photo by Yorgos Lanthimos, Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2023 Searchlight Pictures All Rights Reserved.

Bella is a grown woman with the brain of an infant. Because of this, she must learn how to walk, etiquette, how to speak, and while she is progressing at a rapid pace, there comes a point where she feels stifled. Her father, or creator, Godwin, referred to as God, barely takes her out and, because of his own trauma, fears being seen outside of work where people respect him enough to whisper.

But, as Bella is introduced to Max, then Duncan, she finds need, reason, and the ability to rebel, and we spend a bulk of the film watching her be introduced to new stimuli and having sex with quite a few people.

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Bella

Less so Frankenstein’s monster, as only her brain was replaced, as she is a woman given the chance to escape her former life and start a new one. Mind you, with men who still are a bit controlling, but not as controlling as the person she sought to escape in a past life.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “The Curse.”

Godwin

A notable doctor and scientist, due to his education, experiments, father, as well as the abuse he survived at the hands of his father, Godwin is a man who has done his best to not think with feeling but logic and science. However, Bella grows on him in a way that perhaps makes her the first living human he has genuinely been close to.

Max

Max is one of Godwin’s students and one of the few who isn’t whispering offenses as he instructs. Thus, Godwin asked Max to be his assistant in documenting Bella’s progress.

Duncan

Duncan, a lawyer, was originally brought into the fold to draw up a marriage contract for Bella and Max. However, after reading the contract and being taken by Bella, he becomes the key to her sexual awakening and his own downfall.

Review


Community Rating: 0.00% (0) - No Community Ratings Submitted (Add Yours Below)


Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Highlights

An Indie Movie With Possible Mainstream Appeal

Often, it can seem like the attachment of big-name stars may guarantee financing but isn’t likely to do anything for the box office film. For “Poor Things,” this could be a different story.

Why? Well, though it is a strange movie, with a dash of Frankenstein’s monster, minus Bella killing anyone, you can tell it is meant to have a strong message of female autonomy. Especially how men, whether fathers, husbands or potentially even friends, put it upon themselves to protect what they claim through whatever title the woman is given.

Yet, despite a message expressed mainly through Bella gaining autonomy through sex and then later seeking mental stimulation as much as physical, there is the humor that might be found valuable outside of big cities.

From Emma Stone to Mark Ruffalo, I’d even add Willem Dafoe, while I wouldn’t say this would be the rated-R version of “Barbie,” I think there is a certain level of amusement that can be obtained from Bella’s shenanigans, how Duncan reacts, and the morbid life and comedy of Godwin.

On The Fence

At Times It May Feel Like You’re Bingewatching A Mini-Series

With that said, I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say this felt like watching a mini-series all in one shot. For be it that Bella’s growth isn’t rushed, and with it broken down into chapters, the pace of the film will certainly feel like it is two and a half hours long.

Mind you, in a good way, for it is enjoyable, but God help you if you have the old stadium seating while watching this or are unlucky enough to be in a packed house and have no elbow room.

A Question Of Whether The Sex & Nudity Was Gratuitous Or Not?

By no means do we wish to sound like a prude. However, there is a need to question the sex scenes and nudity. Yes, it is understood that part of Bella gaining control of her life requires gaining control over her pleasure, especially since it was one of the first things she was given a notable conversation about – regarding shame.

Yet, watching Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo have sex, numerous times, see Bella becoming a sex worker and all of that, while the journey is understandable and leads to some comedic moments, there comes the question of whether what was shown needed to be seen?

Take note: is what you see potentially tantalizing? Yes. Though it is also balanced out with a slew of penises that are by no means aesthetically pleasing (as if any penis is). Yet, again, I find myself wondering if the depiction of it all was for the character’s growth, the overall story, or for the audience’s entertainment, if not a combination of the three?

Who Is This For?

Those who want to see a coming-of-age story without it starring a teenager, likely with either a doom and gloom persona or a smart mouth.

Recommendations

If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. To Your Eternity: This anime also features a being go from mindless like a child to growing up before the audience’s eyes. But, it is more violent than “Poor Things” and more fantasy than sci-fi.

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.


Listed Under Categories: ,

Follow, Like and Subscribe


Poor Things (2023) – Movie Review

Summary

While “Poor Things” is definitely in line with Yorgos Lanthimos’ brand, you can see a certain refinement in the bizarre that makes this feel like less for the art house, voters for accolades, and more so potentially a general audience.

Overall
77%
77%
  • A Question Of Whether The Sex & Nudity Was Gratuitous Or Not? - 73%
    73%
  • At Times It May Feel Like You’re Bingewatching A Mini-Series - 74%
    74%
  • An Indie Movie With Possible Mainstream Appeal - 83%
    83%

Highlight(s)

  • An Indie Movie With Possible Mainstream Appeal

Disputable

  • At Times It May Feel Like You’re Bingewatching A Mini-Series
  • A Question Of Whether The Sex & Nudity Was Gratuitous Or Not?

What Would Your Rating Be?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.