Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Best of 2023: Number One

I came out of my first viewing of Poor Things feeling much like its heroine, Bella. I wanted more of it and as soon as possible. I had to wait a few weeks for that second helping, and it confirmed what I had suspected, that this was my favorite movie of the year.

I mean, the movie is almost a Stefon worthy collections of things I love! Slapstick comedy; Emma Stone; huge sleeves on dresses; retro-futuristic cityscapes; Mark Ruffalo; a BULLDOG GOOSE.

There really is too much visual spender in the movie to catch in a single viewing, and I also found a second viewing really helped me appreciate Emma Stone's tour de force performance as Bella Baxter. Just what Bella is, is laid out slowly in the film, by watching it a second time, with that full knowledge, I was able to really understand just what she was playing, and it's simply brilliant.

My favorite take, which I read on Letterboxd, is Poor Things is Barbie, if Weird Barbie were the lead. And indeed the films do offer similar journeys of self-discovery for its two leading ladies, though Poor Things is in no way for kids; if I have any complaint about it, it's that there is maybe, just a little too much sex. Although, I think that ultimately works well to illustrate the journey Bella is on. Like all good things, too much can actually lead to displeasure.

And because this post has been delayed way too long I'll end with three more things that made me love Poor Things.

- That Bella, who for the first part of the movie is essentially a toddler, dresses how a toddler would dress herself, with no regard to what is "right," but only what she likes. And if that means a huge frilly top, tap pants, and boots, so be it.

-  When Bella is annoyed by crying at a table next to her and says,  "I must go punch that baby."

- When Max (Ramy Youssef) does not get angry about Bella's stint at a Parisian brothel and instead says, "It is your body, Bella Baxter, yours to give freely." I know it's kind of an obvious line, but it absolutely made me tear up.

And with that said, let me end with some of the films that did not make my top five, but would definitely be in my top ten:

The Zone of Interest

Barbie

The Taste of Things 

Bottoms

Past Lives

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