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Poor Things Review: Give Emma Stone All The Awards

Poor Things is a strange and bizarre, coming of age, story, in which Emma Stone absolutely crushes the role of Bella. It’s also visually stunning.

Poor Things movie review

Right from the very start of Poor Things it is clear this isn’t going to be a movie for everyone. To call it bizarre is an understatement. One that gets more and more true as the film goes on. However, those that stick around through the explicit content and the exploration of society, will get quite the payoff in the end. At the same time, Poor Things is visually stunning. From the costumes, to the production design, to the sets, it is easy to get lost in it all.

Emma Stone plays Bella Baxter, a woman who has a bizarre backstory that we don’t want to ruin for viewers, even if it is explained early on. The best way to describe it is that she is of a lower maturity level than she appears to be, and because of that Poor Things often feels like a coming of age story. When she leaves home in search of adventure, she discovers herself and the world that she lives in. Being a very blunt person, she can often be off-putting to others, but her honesty is respectable. She certainly says things that many of us surely wish we had the courage to.

Poor Things movie review

Emma Stone absolutely crushes this role. She nails it from the first moment we see her on screen to the last. Her mannerisms, the way she walks, the way she talks, it all changes as evolves as the story goes on and as she learns and changes. Viewers will feel like they are learning and growing with her. She is completely enthralling and compelling, as it is nearly impossible to look away from her. Bella seems to have this effect on all of those around in her in the film, so it makes sense that that would seep through to the audience as well.

When she is on screen with Mark Ruffalo, who plays a lawyer who finds himself captivated by Bella, these are some of the best scenes. The way that these two massive talents play off one another is more than impressive. The moments that they share feel extremely intimate at times, like we are voyeurs looking in on something we shouldn’t be. And that is not a bad thing.

Poor Things movie review

Willem Dafoe portray a very strange, and perhaps sick, man, who is a father of sorts to Bella. The two have a strange relationship, but it is one that becomes the heart of the movie — or at least the first and third act. Every one in this world has a parent they don’t always see eye to eye with, which is why their scenes together often feel relatable in a bizarre way. 

Now, it needs to be mentioned that Poor Things is not afraid to push the boundaries. How this only got an R rating, we aren’t too sure, as it often feels like it crossed into NC-17 territory. While sometimes these scenes can be a bit rough, they never veer into hard to watch, and they always fit into the story. They are not there just for the sake of being there. Still, this will likely make some viewers uncomfortable.

Poor Things movie review

Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo in POOR THINGS. Photo by Atsushi Nishijima. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2023 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.

Probably the biggest issue with Poor Things is the length. While yes, we are given the time to explore life with Bella. To learn and grow and watch her seem to come of age, there are a couple of times it feels as if the movie is ending, only for it to continue on. At nearly two and a half hours, this is an investment. But a worthwhile one in the end.

Bella is a weird individual, but it is easy to fall in love with her. To root for her. To want her to be happy. And trust us when we say she is not the type to just laydown and take it (well, maybe in THAT way she is…). She is going to do what she wants to do, and she doesn’t seek or need approval from anyone to do it. Emma Stone was the perfect casting choice, and it was an absolute joy to watch her demand the attention that she deserves on screen.

Poor Things might seem bright and cheery, with costumes that pop and intricate sets that are equal parts beautiful and bizarre, but it gets heavy at times – unafraid to explore the harsh realities of life.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Poor Things movie poster

About Poor Things

Brought back to life by an unorthodox scientist, a young woman runs off with a lawyer on a whirlwind adventure across the continents. Free from the prejudices of her times, she grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.

Poor Things comes to theaters December 8th.