Poor Things – Blu-ray Review

Mark Pacis

Poor Things

Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things ventures into a fantastical world, infusing its storyline with surrealism. The movie aims to redefine storytelling and challenge traditional cinematic norms. Unfortunately, it goes to the extreme in challenging these norms and, in doing so, has aimed only to please a niche audience.

The story revolves around Bella Baxter, a character revived with the brain of her unborn child. Thus, the film covers a journey of rebirth and freedom. Poor Things blends dark comedy set in a bizarre fantasy world, showcasing Lanthimos’ signature surreal touch. Despite its artistic boldness, the film’s fantastical elements sometimes make it hard for viewers to suspend disbelief and fully engage.

That’s because Lanthimos’s love for surrealism peaks in Poor Things, in which he creates an absurd universe. This method highlights deep themes like self-governance, identity, and the essence of being human, yet it might disconnect some viewers. Its peculiar narrative, filled with strange events and uneven flow, can complicate its accessibility and may overshadow the deeper meanings and emotional impact for a broader audience.

Nevertheless, the lead actors skillfully traverse the film’s whimsical plot. This is especially true for the recent Oscar winner Emma Stone. However, the movie’s peculiar nature can eclipse character depth, making it challenging for the audience to connect with the characters and their stories.

From a technical standpoint, Poor Things showcases Lanthimos’ expertise in visual narration, with precise cinematography and editing that augment the surreal ambiance. Nonetheless, the film’s aesthetic decisions can sometimes act more as diversions than enhancements to the story’s progression.

Overall, Poor Things indulges in a surreal cinematic realm that is visually and intellectually engaging but might confuse mainstream viewers. The film is a testament to his ambition in artistic cinema. Still, Lanthimos’ boundary-pushing visuals and ideas may have gone too far here.

Movie Review: 1.5/5 atoms

Poor Things - Emma Stone

Poor Things hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC HD presentation in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The movie was filmed on 35mm and then converted to a 4K Digital Intermediate, delivering a Blu-ray presentation that is both crisp and aesthetically pleasing. As I said in the review, the look of Poor Things exudes a surrealistic aesthetic with realistic and exquisitely crafted scenes. The film’s visual style, which transitions from monochrome to a dynamic and colorful palette, displays a wide range of natural and intensified colors. The shift to color in the movie unveils a mesmerizing mix of accurate and vibrant hues. Also, the sharpness of the image is maintained throughout, with no detectable softness, ensuring clear and detailed visuals. Sharpness is preserved in the background and foreground, providing a high-definition experience highlighting the intricate and award-winning production design.

Video Review: 5/5 atoms

Poor Things - Mark Ruffalo

Poor Things hits Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentation. Poor Things features a 5.1 track that prioritizes the dialogue but is also complemented by a well-balanced mix that fills the soundstage, creating an immersive auditory environment. Not to mention, the placement of sound objects effectively captures the essence of different scenes, adding to the movie’s immersive feel. The score is notable for its unique instrumentation, providing a deep, engaging audio backdrop. As a whole, the film is dialogue-heavy, so the dialogue is consistently crisp and prominent throughout.

Audio Review: 5/5 atoms

Poor Things - Ramy Youssef and Willem Dafoe
Special Features

Poor Things hits Blu-ray with the following bonus features on the disc:

  • Processing Beauty: The Making of Poor Things
  • Deleted Things
    • Brothel Doctor
    • Alfie’s Chapter
    • Bella’s Notebook
Features Assessment

While the bonus features for Poor Things are somewhat sparse, it remains worthwhile. The featurette “Possessing Beauty” offers a concise but insightful look at the making of the film. However, this documentary segment could have been more detailed, perhaps exploring the reasons behind the perceived difficulty of adapting “Poor Things” for the screen. Additionally, “Deleted Things” includes three brief scenes that were excluded to tighten the film’s runtime.

Special Features Review: 3/5 atoms

Overall, Poor Things is unapologetically bizarre and eccentric yet emotionally resonant. Yorgos Lanthimos’ work is an acquired taste. However, its distinctive style and a remarkable performance by Emma Stone set it apart. For a visual movie such as this, it’s surprising that this didn’t get an Ultra HD release. Nevertheless, the HD Blu-ray isn’t without its technical merits. The film still looks and sounds excellent in this HD release, although the bonus features leave much to be desired.

Overall Review: /5 atoms

Poor Things is now available in stores on Blu-ray.

This Blu-ray was provided by Buena Vista Home Entertainment for review purposes.