Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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“Poor Things” Review: A Missing Piece

Larissa Lopez
Poor Things won a variety of Oscars in the latest Academy Awards Season. The cinematography and acting are the two aspects that excel throughout this film.

Any movie that has received a high number of Oscars, such as Poor Things with four of them won in the latest Academy Awards season, is open to a lot more discussion as it ends up gaining more popularity. While being praised by the critics, Poor Things is one of those pieces of media that for me, feels as if something is missing and even though it goes very extremely into the weirdness a film can achieve, it misses its mark on the themes Lanthimos wanted to show.

Before going into this point, I wanted to mention both aspects I believe the movie excels at: the cinematography and actors. The movie completely excels at everything related to visuals, with amazing scenarios that made the cinema experience feel as if you are watching renaissance paintings move in real life. The unbelievable outfits and makeup also excels, highlighting Bella who showed an evolution of different gowns that would leave any fashion fanatic dumbfounded as well as Godwin, played by Willem Dafoe, who had a prosthetic over his face and that just added to the “weirdness” of the film.

With such an extravagant story to tell, especially in the format director Yorgos Lanthimos films with many scenes being extremely intimate and at times disgusting, every single actor we see on screen does their best to completely transform into their characters. Emma Stone got the “Best Actress” Oscar for her acting as Bella Baxter, as she has done amazing work and I feel like it’s a role many actresses would not have picked.

Stone is able to perform this character who starts as completely lost and unaware from the real world, into their evolution of “womanhood,” with scenes such as learning how to walk or eat, or the extreme lack of awareness and manners throughout the multiple travels she does. She is able to make herself vulnerable both as the character and actress, as many times during the film Bella has to perform very graphic scenes, as the themes of sexuality and attraction are two of the main focuses.

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My main issue with this movie is that with such “extreme” and not “normal” themes and scenes, it feels as though the movie misses very much in other topics regarding woman sexuality and it just feels like another movie directed by a man talking about women’s experiences, from a place of not a lot of knowledge.

The main story point is that of a baby’s brain being put into a women’s body, and it embarks into a surrealist and absurdist story of this woman-baby Frankenstein going through life and experiencing with her body. While appreciating the incredible comedy in the film (highlighting Mark Ruffalo as an amazing supporting actor), it truly does not go into more depth or come fully fleshed into both sexuality or the societal views of it, and just turns into a 2-hour long mash of however many sex scenes could be produced.

I am familiar with Lanthimos works and consider myself a fan of both “The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” and I wish he would have continued those type of stories more than the result “Poor Things” ended up being. Throughout the movie, Bella is ending up in these new experiences, both by manipulation done by men or by her own curiosity, but at no point she shows fear. It feels as if she was a robot at times, or completely irrational at others, even with the idea of her being a baby in a women’s body.

Other themes such as periods, or the main character ending pregnant again are never brought up, just adding to the feeling of this movie being a man’s fantasy, as well as this baby-woman character ending up in multiple romantic relationships and even marrying someone who met her when she still had a baby’s mentality, with the movie never directly mentioning this fact ending up with the themes of grooming being incredibly blurry and weird throughout the film. Other themes such as prostitution and socialism are brought up, but never seem to be fully fleshed in the film.

I do want to mention that this movie has a very polarizing audience, and while some people don’t like it, many others really loved it, and that being able to watch a film critically and create your own opinions is extremely important; I would recommend this film for anyone reading, even if I personally did not enjoy it. Even after watching it more critically, I still enjoy the film in the comedy aspects and the stunning visuals, but still feel as if it was not able to be fully developed in the story-telling aspect.

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About the Contributor
Larissa Lopez
Larissa Lopez, Photographer
Larissa Lopez (she/her/hers) is currently a photographer at The Winonan.
Larissa is an international student from Santa Cruz, Bolivia and is a second-year student at Winona State University in the major of Finance. She loves experimenting with the different activities offered on campus, and visiting as many places as possible. She hopes as a photographer, to be able to experience more events and portray them.
Larissa’s hobbies include watching films of any genre, making traditional and digital art, listening to music and biking around Winona.

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