The film is based on a 1992 novel of the same name by Alasdair Gray and offers a not-so-subtle twist on the original Frankenstein story. After all, Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, whose maiden name comes from the philosopher and poet William Godwin (her mother, meanwhile, was the Enlightenment-era feminist philosopher and writer Mary Wollstonecraft). And in Mary’s original novel, we were intentionally presented with a story where a man wants to play God, so he creates life without the help of a woman.
Yet what does Dr. Victor Frankenstein create if not another man? One he immediately abandons in revulsion after birth, leaving the creature to wander alone in a cruel world. This is what corrodes his soul until he becomes a real monster. The concept of a bride or female monster is also in the original 1818 book, though Victor eventually reneges on his promise to make his creation a companion.
Director James Whale and Universal Pictures eventually brought this idea to fruition by Bride of Frankenstein, but in its own kind of subversion, Lanchester’s self-titled Bride is the product of two seemingly gay-coded men wanting to play house without wives. And after the birth of the bride, everyone is flabbergasted that she does not immediately agree to love the original monster. Even Karloff’s otherwise sympathetic creature and antihero conforms to the patriarchy, feeling sorry for herself after she rejects him (seemingly for Dr. Frankenstein’s favor and protection). The first creature then decides for her that he will put an end to their days. “We belong to the dead,” he proclaims. Maybe speak for yourself, buddy?
Conversely, Lanthimos poor things is a story told entirely from the perspective of a woman who has been brought back to life, and not just as the climax of the third act. While the plot synopsis seems to suggest that she was brought back to be the mad scientist’s companion, instead of that of some other creature, she will be given the opportunity to make her own choices, for better and for worse. worse. And knowing Lanthimos, it will definitely be both.
“I find being alive fascinating,” Stone’s Bella says in the new trailer before slapping Ruffalo’s swinger lover. We have a hunch the public will too.
poor things opens September 8 in the US
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