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‘Poor Things’ is an illustrious work of dark Art

In his latest film, ' Poor Things', takes us on a wild ride into a colorful surreality filled with lust, whims, and wonder. The film is visually stunning and evokes the entire spectrum of human experience from grief to joy, sorrow to laughter, and love to loss.

The film's plot follows Bella’s development as she relearns how to integrate into society as a young woman with the brain of a newborn child. The film undoubtedly draws inspiration from Mary Shelley’s, ‘Frankenstein’, as the main character, Bella Baxter, is revived by a zany neurosurgeon, Godwin Baxter, played by Willem Dafoe.

Dark and Stormy

Suicide is a topic that is often “too dark”, but in this context, Lanthimos uncovers the oppression of a woman who is trapped, both spiritually and physically, by the egomaniacal character, Alfie Blessington. Following her death by suicide, Godwin brings Bella back to life using parts of the brain of her unborn child, whom she had been pregnant with when she leaped off a bridge.

Bella is betrothed to Max McCandles, Godwin’s aspiring assistant, who falls madly in love with Bella’s beauty and intellect. Bella discovers her sexuality and, hastily after that, is convinced to abandon her home and her fiancé for a hedonistic, nymphomaniacal jaunt around the world with Mark Ruffalo’s character, Duncan Wedderburn. Duncan’s obsessive desire to control Bella soon turns her attention elsewhere, and in a desperate attempt to contain Bella, he kidnaps her onto a cruise ship.

Enchanted by futuristically modified landscapes reminiscent of Portugal, Spain, France, and Northern Africa, she sails around the world, and in each city, Bella sees different peoples’ qualities of life. Akin to the reaction of the Buddha, the first time he saw poor people; Bella is similarly stricken by the sight of those in disparate conditions without food and without freedom. As Bella experiences deep grief and compassion for those suffering, she loses patience for Duncan’s self-centered frivolity and begins to make new friends.

The narrative of the film is uncomplicated, but the set design and scenic elements are extravagantly exotic. If you enjoy laughing at the absurdity of societal mannerisms and bubbling over with an awe for the aesthetically pristine, then you must see this film for yourself.

About the Writer

Alyssa Forte was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and has called Downtown Brooklyn her home since 2011. She/they is a multidisciplinary artist whose work hones in on vulnerability, virtuosity, and introspection. Her work is derived through text, poetry, movement, dance, sound, film, and installation.

As a dance artist, she has had the privilege of performing with prominent dance companies and choreographers on stage, screen, and gallery in NYC, Europe, and Northeast Africa. As a choreographer and movement director, her work has been presented by the Queens Museum, Times Square Arts, The Guggenheim, The Kitchen, and others.

Follow Alyssa on IG: a,forte (@alyssaforte)

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