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Poor creatures! with Emma Stone: the review

Most of the films of the Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos certainly does not fall into the sentimental genre. Not the grim shock of Dogtoothcertainly not the family drama with murder The Sacrifice of the Sacred Deer e not even romantic (in quotes) sci-fi The Lobster. It is therefore no surprise that his latest work, Poor creatures!premiered at Venice Film Festivalis a long and strange journey towards something very close to sweetness.

Based on the novel by Alasdair Gray from 1992, Poor creatures! is a science fiction coming-of-age novel about a Frankensteinian monster making its way out into the world. Emma Stone interprets Beautiful Baxtera young woman brought back to life by one crazy scientistGodwin (Willem Dafoe), whose very existence is a bizarre anomaly. Inside Bella’s skull is the brain of a newborn baby belonging to the woman whose body Bella essentially inherited. So she is both child and mother at the same time, a child who can barely stand and speaks an approximate language, housed, surprisingly, in the body of an adult woman.

Godwin, whom Bella simply calls God, has a house full of other strange inventions – perhaps the most important is a chicken with the head of a bulldog – but his creation main is Pretty, a de facto daughter whose growth she watches with a mixture of pride and protection. As noted by one of Godwin’s students, Max (Ramy Youssef), Bella grows very quickly, acquiring about 15 new words a day, is increasingly stable (even if she still moves in a funny and cheeky way) and more curious about all the wonders that populate the outside world.

Europe is roughly that of 1880, the film moves between London Lisbon and Paris, all in one awesome style reminiscent of the work of Terry Gilliam. Elements emerge here and there steampunkThe backgrounds are deliberately fake and theatricali costumes (a fascinating series created by Holly Waddington) are a mix of Victorian pomposity and Sixties go-go fashion. The movie is good lookingeven if his relentless style risks tiring.

Like a few moments of saccharine indulgence, when Lanthimos inserts a pop-feminist joke elicits applause that almost seems to break the fourth wall and attack the audience. Otherwise, though, the film’s political forays are refreshingly precise. Bella’s journey through a landscape of sex And men he sees her gradually gaining more courage and awareness of things. She becomes one philosopher sex worker, who asks questions about the systems he sees lined up in front of him with a frankness and sincerity that one senses belong to the new psychological order induced by the brain transplant. If an answer from her doesn’t convince her, Bella immediately sets about tidying up her environment, as if she were applying a method.

Most of his discoveries are related to the sex, which Lanthimos stages in a vivid and detailed way, without a shred of shyness. Stone bravely engages in these scenes, but in reality it’s all of her performance, in the complicated journey from baby to woman, to be appreciated. Wonderful, funny And pungent, but never too grim. Stone transitions seamlessly from the more comedy parts to those of growing melancholy, while Bella comes of age with the acute awarenesshard-won tactic of its unlikely place in the world. This is where Lanthimos becomes sentimentalalmost maudlin, although it retains a margin of quirkiness enough to avoid stupidity.

Stone finds valid support in the other protagonists. Dafoe remains a master of eccentricity, while Youssef is seductive, sincere but not saintly. Coming in late, Christopher Abbott he plays the slimy bad guy and the big one well Kathryn Hunter she strikes the right balance between maternal and brooding playing a tattoo-covered Parisian maitresse. Alone Mark Ruffaloas a shady lawyer who makes Bella lose her mind (as much as that’s possible, because she seems to mostly enjoy sex), exaggerates, making us think more of a lame tease.

Although, to tell the truth, this could simply be the way the film was directed. Lanthimos definitely wants to make us laugh, Poor creatures! it is above all one comedy. If you want to see the glass half full, the movie is brilliant And intelligentproud of his peculiarityuntil it touches the complacency. However, its 140 minutes begin to wear out of their usefulness in the final third, when previously made jokes are repeated and fresh ones raise cumbersome plot questions. The film’s epic dimensions – Bella’s Odysseus journey from place to place, from one lecture to another – are commendable. However, Poor creatures! it loses some steam as Lanthimos tries to bring his themes together in a satisfying conclusion.

That doesn’t mean things don’t end well. Kindness and a feeling of accomplishment animate the film’s closing scenes, and we feel the satisfied tiredness of returning home after a long time spent in the wilds of training. Making a film about growth (but not only), Lanthimos also seems to have matured a bit. He’s always that mischievous provocateur who dares people to flinch at uncomfortable issues, but in Poor creatures! finds grace in the profane and squalid, shows us a heart that completes all the arabesques of its singular brain.

Source: Vanity Fair

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