Surrealist Film Adventure: 'Poor Things' Review by Budapest Reporter

  • 16 Feb 2024 7:53 AM
Surrealist Film Adventure: 'Poor Things' Review by Budapest Reporter
After its incredibly successful festival run, Poor Things has finally arrived in cinemas around the world, to reassure everyone: this is not only one of the best movies lately, but also probably the best surrealist feature of the past decade.

Yorgos Lanthimos’ weirdly entertaining film is the very reason people are still going to the movies today. I apologise in advance: I can only talk about this film in superlatives.

After seeing “Poor Things”, two things came to my mind: the immense hype around this film that has been building up in the past few months, and surrealist cinema itself.

In my experience, an unusual movie like this rarely receives the wide welcome like Lanthimos’ latest did, and in this case, I believe it’s not only the result of the talented cast and the director’s reputation, but of an overall change in the direction of what mainstream cinema is today.

In the past few years, even lightweight moviegoers have grown tired of typical genre flicks and empty romcoms, that were dominating not only cinemas but streaming platforms too. They need something bigger, something weirder, something more unique to pique their interests – “Poor Things” did exactly that.

While drawing inspiration from magnificent surrealist directors like David Lynch and Luis Buñuel, just to name a few, Lanthimos managed to add the specific taste he is famous for to his adaptation of Alasdair Gray’s novel of the same name.

Doing so, he not only revived a sub-genre that seemed to be nonexistent in modern cinema, but also presented it in a captivating style that will surely please various types of audiences, even if not for the same reasons.

But what would a director’s magic be without the fantastic actors and other collaborators that took part in the creation of this masterpiece. Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo and Ramy Youssef deliver outstanding performances on this crazy adventure. Once again, cinematographer Robbie Ryan is here to visually elevate every moment of Bella’s journey, that is scored by Jerskin Fendrix’s haunting melodies.

That being said, it’s no doubt “Poor Things” will be too graphic and elusive to some, and that is quite understandable.

But these tones are what precisely make it so enchanting: it’s bizarre visuals and characters, mind boggling scenarios and daring exploration of gender dynamics all contain that potent amount of boldness, that is so vividly missing from many films today.

I told my friend the other day, that “Poor Things” is “like a David Lynch film, directed in the 20s, that turns into “Barbie”, directed by aliens”.

Which is, of course, an oversimplification of what Lanthimos has achieved here, but at the same time, it’s something I never thought I would say. I want to see more films that make me say sentences I never thought I would.

(We wouldn’t be Budapest Reporter, if we forgot to mention that “Poor Things” was shot at Origo Studios in Budapest, with the contribution of many Hungarian film professionals.)

Source: - republished with permission

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