February 7 @ 7:00 pm
Comedy / Fantasy
Rated PG — 2 hr 21 min
Wildly imaginative and exhilaratingly over the top, Poor Things is a bizarre, brilliant tour de force for director Yorgos Lanthimos and star Emma Stone. Lanthimos seems delighted in depicting extreme behavior within pristine settings. The contrast between the expectations of decorum and the messy truth of humanity seems to fascinate him endlessly. Nowhere is this conflict more exaggerated and entertaining than in this latest film, possibly his best yet. Everything is wonderfully bizarre, from the performances and dialogue to the production and costume design. And yet at its core, as is so often the case in the Greek auteur’s movies, Poor Things is about the awkwardness of forging a real human connection.
The film tells the incredible tale of the fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter (Stone), a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). Under Baxter’s protection, Bella is eager to learn. Hungry for the worldliness she is lacking, Bella runs off with Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo), a slick and debauched lawyer, on a whirlwind adventure across the continents. Free from the prejudices of her times, Bella grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.
Emma Stone gives a hilarious, beyond-next-level performance of a lifetime as Bella Baxter, the experimental subject of a troubled Victorian anatomist, in Lanthimos’s toweringly bizarre comedy. Watching her start out big and broad and fine tune the character little by little, physically and verbally, as Bella evolves is a wonder to behold. She’s doing such technically precise comedic work here, especially during the character’s childlike origins, but eventually she’s captivating when she’s fully in command as a sexually liberated woman. The movie is brutal, but it’s also extravagantly beautiful, extremely funny and, by the end, strangely touching, even uplifting. This may be Lanthimos’ most unhinged movie, but it also has a joyous exuberance.
Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, Jack Barton