Emma Stone’s New Movie Gives The Bride Of Frankenstein Her Feminist Claim

The film is based on the 1992 novel of the same name by Alasdair Gray and offers a not-so-subtle feminist twist on Frankenstein’s original story. Eventually, Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, whose maiden name comes from the philosopher and poet William Godwin (her mother was the Enlightenment 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.

But what creates Dr. Victor Frankenstein other than another man? One whom he immediately abandons with disgust upon birth, leaving the creature to wander alone through a cruel world. This is what corrodes his soul until he becomes a true monster. The concept of a bride or female monster is also found in the original 1818 book, although Victor ultimately breaks his promise to make his creation a mate.

Director James Whale and Universal Pictures finally turned this idea into reality The Bride of Frankenstein, but in its own brand of subversion, Lanchester’s eponymous bride is the product of two seemingly gay-coded men who want to play housewives without wives. And after the bride is born, everyone is amazed that she would not immediately agree to love the original monster. Even Karloff’s otherwise sympathetic nature and anti-hero conforms to the patriarchy, wallowing in self-pity after she rejects him (apparently to win Dr. Frankenstein’s favor and protection). The first creature then decides for her that he will end her life. “We belong to the dead,” he proclaims. Maybe speak for yourself, mate?

Conversely, Lanthimos’ Poor things is a story told entirely from the point of view of a resurrected woman and not just as the climax of the third act. While the plot synopsis seems to indicate that she was brought back to be the mad scientist’s mate, instead of being the mate of another creature, she will be given the opportunity to make her own choices – for better or for worse. And knowing Lanthimos, it will certainly be both.

“I find it fascinating to be alive,” says Bella von Stone in the new teaser trailer, before slapping Ruffalo’s revealing lover. We have a hunch that that will be the case with audiences as well.

Poor things opens September 8 in the US


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