Everything We Know So Far About Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things Film

By Olivia Emily

10 months ago

Is it Barbie? Is it Frankenstein? There’s only one way to find out

When Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things debuted at the Venice Film Festival on 31 August, it received a standing ovation, and the five-star reviews immediately started pouring in. The Guardian has called it ‘a steampunk-retrofuturist Victorian freakout and macabre black-comic horror’ while the BFI claims there is ‘pleasure in every fantastical frame’. So what’s the film about? And who stars? Here’s everything we know so far.

Everything We Know So Far About Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things

Ramy Youssef and Emma Stone in POOR THINGS

Ramy Youssef and Emma Stone in POOR THINGS. Photo by Yorgos Lanthimos. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2023 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.

Based on Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel of the same name, Poor Things has been in the works since 2009, when director Yorgos Lanthimos met with Gray in Scotland in pursuit of the film rights. Having snagged them, the project sat on the wayside for a while until 2017, when Lanthimos was working with Emma Stone on The Favourite (2018). He approached the La La Land star with the lead role and she accepted, also signing on to produce. Stone recently told Vogue about her involvement in casting, which happened during the pandemic, with most people signing on in 2021.

What Is Poor Things About?

Bella (Emma Stone) is a young woman who lives in an eccentric mansion with her guardian, Dr Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). With an alternate Victorian setting, Baxter is a Frankenstein-style scientist with a severely scarred face who rustles up unorthodox creatures in his experiments, from a dog with a goose head to a pig spliced with a chicken to Bella. A curious but linguistically stunted young woman, what Bella doesn’t know is that she is a baby trapped inside its mother’s body. But she’s learning quickly.

With Yorgos Lanthimos directing – the man behind The Lobster and The Favourite – it’s an eccentric film that has cinephiles excited; so far, the Rotten Tomatoes approval rating sits at 98 percent. Far from being too highbrow, expect LSD, masturbation and slapstick comedy in a vivid world of warped lenses as Bella pursues gender equality and liberation. In short, if Frankenstein and Barbie had a baby, we think it would look a little something like this.

First Look

Kathryn Hunter and Emma Stone in POOR THINGS

Who Stars?

Led by Emma Stone, Poor Things has an ensemble cast, including Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe. The full cast is as follows:

  • Emma Stone as Bella Baxter
  • Mark Ruffalo as Duncan Wedderburn
  • Willem Dafoe as Dr. Godwin Baxter
  • Ramy Youssef as Max McCandles
  • Jerrod Carmichael as Harry Astley
  • Christopher Abbott as Alfie Blessington
  • Margaret Qualley as Felicity
  • Kathryn Hunter as Madame Swiney
  • Suzy Bemba as Toinette
  • Hanna Schygulla as Martha Von Kurtzroc
  • Vicki Pepperdine as Mrs. Prim
  • Wayne Brett
  • Tom Stourton
  • Carminho
  • Jerskin Fendrix

Is There A Trailer?

Yes – and you can watch it below.

Release Date

Poor Things will arrive in UK cinemas on 12 January 2024.