Poor Things (Digital)

The incredible tale about the fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter.

February 27, 2024 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Several years ago I received a disc for review – the name: The Lobster. I hadn’t heard of it, but saw that it starred Rachel Weitz, Collin Farrell and John C. Reilly. Ok, I’m a fan of all three so I was intrigued. After the credits rolled, I kind of just sat there and found it hard to blink. What an odd film! A few years later I checked out The Killing of a Sacred Deer and had equal results. I was gobsmacked. Not many films leave so much of a lasting impression after they run their course, but the films of Yorgos Lanthimos do. At least with me. So now we’ve got Poor Things in the same vein as the aforementioned titles. And, yeah, it’s out there as well. But films like this require a significant amount of suspension of disbelief. It’s got a great cast with Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe just to name a few. Ready to get weird? I know I am.

We meet Bella Baxter (Emma Stone), an adult who’s been given (literally) the brain of a child. She’s been reanimated and her guardian scientist, Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe), keeps her confined in their home. Upon meeting Duncan (Mark Ruffalo), a lawyer, she decides she wants to experience the world. The duo run away together and, well, things happen both physically and spiritually. There’s more to it, of course, but if you’ve been waiting for years to see Emma Stone in all her glory – look no further.

I deliberately tiptoed around the plot as I don’t want to ruin anything for the viewer. And having seen a few of Lanthimos’s other films, I thought I had an idea as what to expect. Well…you can add that to the list of things I was wrong about. Movies like Poor Things come around, smack you in the face and ask you to expect the unexpected. And that’s a good mindset to have when watching this. I’ll say that it won’t be for everyone, Lanthimos’s films aren’t. But, like Oliver Stone’s films, Lanthimos seems to bring out the best performances from the actors. This is yet another one of those films that will stay with you long after the credits roll. And I like that. So will you.

Video: How’s it look?

Anyone who’s seen one of Lanthimos’s films knows that they’re not exactly bursting with color. And Poor Things doesn’t do anything to rewrite that rule. His films are often very bleak, using a natural color scheme that looks, well…depressing (at times). Don’t let that deter you, however, as the literal presentation itself is a thing of beauty. Of note, the first act of the film is shot in black and white. The 1.66:1 fills up nearly the entire screen with some thin bars on the sides, but what’s inside those black bars looks sharp and vivid. Flesh tones, for lack of a better word, are a bit washed out. Detail is amazing – just looking at Willem Dafoe’s character gives a very good indiction of how good the makeup was. Viewers will not be disappointed.

Audio: How’s it sound?

A standard DTS HD Master Audio mix is found on this film digitally (the Blu-ray will have the same soundtrack) and sounds, by and large, pretty good. Again, this is a trademark of the director who doesn’t seem to go overboard on bright colorful pictures or blow the roof off the place. In other words – it’s the anti-Barbie. Vocals are pure and rich, surrounds are used sparingly yet effectively and the front stage handles the burden of the mix. It’s a solid effort, but nothing too memorable.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Possessing Beauty – The Making of Poor Things. Join Yorgos Lanthimos, Emma Stone, cast and crew in the making of this fantastical film. Explore the costumes, makeup and prosthetics in detail. Take a tour with Willem Dafoe and see how Godwin and Bella’s home mirrors and accommodates them both.
  • Deleted Things – Three total. Running a whopping 3 minutes for the trio.
    • Brothel Doctor
    • Alfie’s Chapter
    • Bella’s Notebook

The Bottom Line

If you’re a fan of the films of Yorgos Lanthimos then this is yet another feather in his cap. It’s odd. It’s out there. But then again, you should know what to expect. The movie won’t be for everyone, but for those that it appeals to will be rewarded.

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