Poor things

Poor things
Poor things
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Yorgos Lanthimos loves showing outrageousness in clean settings, whether it is the tidy streets of Dog Tooth or the sterile labs of The Lobster or the splendid halls of The Favorite. That glaring contrast between what should be and what really is seems to fascinate him no end. So now we are talking about Poor Things Movie.

Nowhere is this conflict more exaggerated and entertaining than in his latest film, “Poor Things.” Everything here is wonderfully absurd from performances and dialogue to production and costume design. However at its core, like so many other Greek auteur movies, “Poor Things” is about feeling uncomfortable while trying to build some real connection with a person. We need each other and we wish others to know who we are. Bella, the central character seeks truth, happiness and a true soul mate among genuinely loving people that don’t seek only control over her. On one level, this might sound cliché: Young girl going on journey of self-discovery finds out she has always been what she was looking for. But as usual from Lanthimos’ movie this execution continually astonishes.

It’s Victorian London where Emma Stone’s Bella lives in an elegant townhouse with the crazy scientist who happens to be her surrogate father. Below all his scars there lies Dr. Godwin Baxter played by Willem Dafoe with such gentleness. Bella is an adult but at first behaves like a toddler making sounds with her mouth while throwing plates all around herself as she jumps stiffly up and down laughing all along . She calls him God, which is not even an exaggeration. All of that will become clear later I suppose.

Over time it becomes clear that Godwin has many men working to mold Bella; another one of these men being Max McCandles(Ramy Youssef), one of his pupils. Max moves in when he plans on helping out godwin on research but ends up falling for bella hence proposing marriage to her ,and Youssef brings an element of warmth and reason to this otherwise mad world. However, none of this compares to Mark Ruffalo’s character Duncan Wedderburn who is a blatantly evil person. He takes her on a grand tour of the world which mainly consists of vigorous sexual activities at various angles—what Bella now refers to as “furious jumping” in her rapidly maturing mind—and which underpin both her independence and the film’s bawdy humor.

Collaborating with Lanthimos again following The Favorite, Stone delivers the performance of a lifetime in a role that would be daunting for any actor. This could have been painfully misguided; instead, it is screamingly vibrant and unpredictable in ways tiny and gigantic. Watching her start out big and broad and then refine the character inch by inch physically as well as verbally throughout Bella’s progression is nothing short of amazing. She is doing such technically precise comedic work here especially when she was going back to find out how the character originated but finally she is mesmerizing when she has authority over herself as an empowered woman able to enjoy sex whenever she wants it. Very likeable, she has our sympathy even when behaving childishly insolent while we continue rooting for her against increasing patriarchal oppression till the end.

Ruffalo, on the other hand, is outrageously funny in a manner you’ve never met him before. He’s a good-looking lover and a conceited buffoon at the same time. Moreover, he’s unexpectedly attractive yet eventually becomes hilariously pathetic. It also stars comedian Jerrod Carmichael and German icon Hanna Schygulla as travel companions who end up filling out Bella’s personality. In another scene where Valentina appears to be tentative and unsure of herself during the casting sessions for her film, Ruffalo turns on his character’s charm and succeeds in getting her to take off her pants.

A hilarious book on a boat scenario among them is one of my favorite parts of this movie. Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth” had Kathryn Hunter as witches who were tall or short with spikey hair. Even as small parts go, Paris madame played by petite but powerful Kathryn Hunter was unexpected because she has included shading that you would not have seen from motivations alone.

What makes “Poor Things” so delightful is just how much its language is specific. At first McNamara’s script was deliberately choppy and stiff as it adapts Alasdair Gray’s novel; but later it flows naturally like poetry does in human speech while retaining its disjointedness. As Bella becomes smarter, her words become more important too, which Stone gives us beautifully in an unshowy way here through McNamara’s writing which isn’t quite as wickedly nasty as The Favourite but still carries itself with some poignant humor.

Robbie Ryan’s cinematography creates stunning shots using different textures and colors for grandiosity in this world. loser inspection. Yet by degrees it opens out into rich vibrant colour when Bella really comes into herself; probably the most amazing scenes are the night skies when they are out at sea. This might sound obvious as far as change which can be seen by anyone is concerned, but it’s like he has performed some kind of magic trick right in front of us.

Holly Waddington’s costume design speaks volumes about Bella with detailed and vibrant styles. Young Bella wears simple white nightgowns that give way to puff-sleeve explosions – each more elaborate than the last. You just have to begin somewhere while singing the praises of Shona Heath and James Price’s production designs. Every setting that we see from Godwin’s home, to a plush hotel in Lisbon and finally a dingy Paris brothel is an imaginative recreation of historical images we kind of know but viewed through exaggeration prisms with Escher and Gaudi-like hints.

However, none of these brilliant technicalities would matter at all if we weren’t rooting for the woman at their center. And we do. Even though she has woken up to reality outside her door, Bella doesn’t change into someone bitter or nasty because she will maintain being kind or hopeful towards others whenever there is need; on top of which she isn’t scared to use some newly acquired power occasionally too, showing she has grown up by now. In essence it’s Barbie: The Movie only with weird Barbie instead or even better still, “Poor Things” is the best film this year.

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