Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest cinematic offering, “Poor Things,” made a stunning debut at the 80th Venice Film Festival, receiving a 10 minute long standing ovation from the audience. This immediate acclaim only adds to the film’s buzz, as it already captivated critics and ignited conversations across the board. From its complex characters to its masterful visual storytelling, “Poor Things” is quickly shaping up to be a must-see film of the year. But let’s delve into what top critics are saying about the film.
Curiosity at the Price of Comfort
Guy Lodge from Variety remarks that Lanthimos is a filmmaker who revels in “curiosity at the price of comfort.” Lodge appreciates the way the movie zeros in on a heroine, Bella Baxter, who shares this insatiable curiosity. Bella, a literal child in a woman’s body, played by Emma Stone, explores the world with a “rampant glee” that Lanthimos himself seems to share.
“To Bella Baxter, a literal child in a woman’s body, everything is new and everything is interesting — words, bodies, maps, music, sugar, sex — and Lanthimos matches her fascination with rampant glee.”
A Delight for the Senses
Lodge also lavishes praise on the “busy, swirling mise-en-scène” that mirrors Bella‘s “dizzily expanding, distorted acquaintance with the world.” The reviewer points to Robbie Ryan‘s cinematography, which skillfully alternates between monochrome and Kodak color, as an example of how the film captures the “disorienting awe of childish discovery from a cosmopolitan adult vantage point.”
Moral and Ethical Themes
Justin Chang from Los Angeles Times highlights the film’s underlying moral and ethical questions. Bella‘s creator, Godwin (Willem Dafoe), sets the stage for a modern Frankenstein tale that prompts the viewer to ponder what makes a life and who gets to give or take it away. Chang argues that the film delivers a “scathing critique of society’s ethical compass.”
Emma Stone‘s performance as Bella earned a special nod from David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter. Rooney suggests that Stone is “mesmerizing” and anchors the film’s “morally ambiguous terrain.”
“Molding Bella before our eyes from infancy to adolescence to adulthood — her speech, bearing and body language all intricately evolving from one scene to the next.”
A Single Voice from Different Perspectives
Despite their differences in focus, all three critics acknowledge the film’s ambition, its rich sensory tapestry, and its willingness to delve into uncomfortable but essential questions about human life and morality. Whether emphasizing its moral themes, the strength of its performances, or its masterful visual storytelling, these reviews offer a compelling argument for why “Poor Things” is a must-see film.
Quality Production at ORIGO Studios Budapest
One element contributing to the film’s visual grandeur is its choice of production location. “Poor Things” was shot at ORIGO Studios in Budapest, a high-quality studio that has been the production ground for several international hits like “Blade Runner 2049” and “Dune.” The studio is well-equipped, boasting state-of-the-art facilities that make it a favorite for intricate productions requiring nuanced attention to detail. The choice of this studio signifies not just the grand scale of the film but also Lanthimos‘ commitment to quality, a trait unanimously acknowledged by critics.
Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, LA Times