Culture / Film

‘Poor Things’ is set to become one of the most talked about films of 2023

Poor Things film

Nothing Yorgos Lanthimos creates will ever be called bland. Polarising maybe, violent and weird, certainly. But he's a director who rarely leaves an audience feeling apathetic. This is especially true of his recent film, Poor Thingsstarring Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, Ramy Youssef, and more, which released in cinemas across the US on December. Australians will have to wait until January 18, 2024, save for some select screenings.

Based on Alasdair Gray's 1992 novel of the same name, the film has a Frankenstein core given it's about a woman whose body is brought back to life with the addition of a baby's brain. You learn quickly that this is the least confronting part of the film. There's Bella Baxter's voracious, shameless, appetite for sex (more refreshing than gratuitous), a steampunk-inspired Victorian visual language, body horror and a greasy version of Mark Ruffalo that will make your skin crawl.

So what are people saying about Poor Things so far? And is it worth a watch? Below, find the film's most talked about moments.

Don't watch it with your parents

Or do. I don't know what sort of relationship you have, perhaps they're open books when it comes to talking about sex. But the film is unapologetically laden with sex scenes, in what is said to be Emma Stone's most daring role to date (the film shifts from black and white to technicolour when she sleeps with Ruffalo's character for the first time). Yet, this is not the sort of fornicating bemoaned in The Idol; it's freer, purer – of intent not content. More importantly, especially for a woman on screen, Stone's Baxter isn't punished for her appetite for pleasure – whether that's sex, Portuguese tarts, the delight of exercising free will. So, I take it back. Maybe watch it with your parents?


The costumes

Miss leg-of-mutton sleeves? Nursing a penchant for Victoriana? Relishing the return of bloomersPoor Things is speaking your fashion language. The film's costume designer Holly Waddington told Harper's Bazaar it was a collaborative effort between her, Stone and Lanthimos. Gauzy garments paid homage to the 19th century, however Waddington integrated pieces from André Courrèges’s 1960’s space-age collections and 1930s Schiaparelli for a point of freshness. Stone's outfits reference her current mental age, with Waddington clashing silk knickers with a blazer to create the feeling that Baxter was a child playing dress-ups in her mother's wardrobe. Stone's hair was also raven-black and extremely long for the shoot, adding to her wild presence on screen.


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