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Best Picture Binge - Poor Things

She's nothing like you've ever seen.

Poor Things is a 2023 science fiction black comedy film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, written by Tony McNamara, produced by Film4, Element Pictures, and TSG Entertainment, and distributed by Searchlight Pictures. The film is based off of Alasdair Gray's 1992 novel of the same name. It stars Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo. The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing.

"I'm something of a romantic myself." - Dr. Godwin Baxter


After being reanimated with the brain of an infant, Bella Baxter goes on a journey across the world to discover what being human is really like.

The Sweet

Oh, boy.

Poor Things was the film I was dreading most when I decided to watch all of the Best Picture nominees. Yorgos Lanthimos is not a director that I naturally gravitate towards because the way he tells stories is just too bizarre and too uncomfortable for my taste. This film always looked to be the weirdest and artsiest movie of the nominees, and I just was not looking forward to it. And, having seen it, it still isn't my thing.

The best thing about this film is easily Emma Stone. Her character is endearing in this weird, uncomfortable sort of way, but her performance is just magnetic. She is playing a character who is experiencing the world for the first time, and, as she gains experience, her brain develops. She goes from playing an infant in a grown woman's body to just a normal grown woman. And throughout that arc, she's incredibly funny. The thing that surprised me most about this movie was that it made me laugh, and almost every moment that made me laugh came from Emma Stone.

I also thought that the score for this film was really good. It has this weird, bizarre feel to it that very much matches the vibe of the rest of the movie. There's a lot of string instruments, so there's a lot of high-pitched and almost horror-sounding noises, and I found it to be very effective. It's a very unique score that will stick in your head, which I cannot say about many modern movies.

The Sour

I really, really did not like this movie.

The main goal of Poor Things is to make the viewer uncomfortable. There is so much graphic sex in this film that I just could not take it at a certain point. There's a ten-minute sequence near the end of the film where it feels like the movie is just dragging out this specific plot line so that there can be more sex. Poor Things definitely succeeded in making me uncomfortable, but it did not succeed in making me like it.

I actually expected this movie to be a little artsier than it was. I thought there wasn't really going to be a story and there were going to be random images that make no sense, but that wasn't what this film was. There's definitely a story, but it does feel like there are just random things that happen just for no reason. There's a scene near the end that's a conversation between Mark Ruffalo's character and another male character in the film and Mark Ruffalo just farts in the middle of the conversation. That's just weird. It's not funny. It's just uncomfortable.

I don't jive with or understand Yorgos Lanthimos's directing style, but some of the lenses he used in this movie just took me out of it. There are certain scenes where the camera will shrink so it looks like you are watching the movie through a peephole. I understand that there is probably some artistic reason for doing that, but when that happened, I was just completely taken out of the story.

I also think that the comedy from all other characters besides Emma Stone does not land. Willem Dafoe has multiple scenes where he talks about how his father performed horrific scientific experiments on him, and it's played for laughs, but I just found the jokes to be uncomfortable and not funny. Mark Ruffalo's character is a whiney, unlikable brat. I laughed at maybe one of his "funny" moments. The humor just did not land with me.

Does This Movie Deserve It's Best Picture Nomination?

There have only been two other movies that I've said don't deserve a Best Picture nomination, and I was on the fence about both of them. I don't like Poor Things. I don't think it's a good movie. I get that the Academy wants to nominate more arthouse films, but The Iron Claw, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret were all significantly better films and more deserving nominees than this movie was.

So, no, Poor Things does not deserve it's Best Picture nod.

Final Thoughts and Score

I went in not expecting to like Poor Things. Unlike Maestro, my expectations were correct.

I am going Sour here. Age range is 17+.


Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)

"Poor Things"

Fun Factor: 1/10

Acting: 8.5/10

Story: 6/10

Characters: 4/10

Quality: 6.5/10

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Rated R for strong sexual content, strong bloody violence and gore, frightening themes and images, language, thematic elements

Released on December 8, 2023

2 hours and 22 minutes

Emma Stone as Bella Baxter

Mark Ruffalo as Duncan Wedderburn

Willem Dafoe as Dr. Godwin Baxter

Ramy Youssef as Max McCandles

Christopher Abbott as Alfie Blessington

Kathryn Hunter as Madame Swiney

Jerrod Carmichael as Harry Astley

Hanna Schygulla as Martha von Kurtzroc

Margaret Qualley as Felicity

Vicki Pepperdine as Mrs. Prim

Suzy Bemba as Toinette


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