An international dream team spearheaded by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, Australian screenwriter Tony McNamara, Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan and American actress Emma Stone reunites after the Oscar-winning glory of The Favourite for a deranged coming-of-age fairy tale that lambasts the treatment of 19th-century women.

Torn from the pages of Alasdair Gray's novel, Poor Things introduces audiences to a fantastical medical experiment christened Bella Baxter.

This unstoppable whirling dervish, portrayed with jaw-dropping gusto by Stone, has been bequeathed life by transplanting the mind of a child into an adult body.

READ MORE: Poor Things: Big screen adaptation of Alasdair Gray wows Venice

McNamara's deliciously biting and frequently hilarious script unleashes Bella on a sexually repressed Victorian-era society that believes women should be seen, admired but not heard.

Unlike her peers, the film's exuberant heroine isn't suffocated by tightly corseted conventions of the period.

Bella doesn't comprehend self-censorship so when the piercing cries of a mewling infant disturb her calm, she doesn't hesitate to voice her displeasure: "I must punch that baby!"

Stone's fearless, virtuoso performance defies superlatives.

She uses subtle changes in language fluency, posture and movement to illustrate her character's white-knuckle joyride from infancy to maturity in artfully staged vignettes of impressive physical and verbal comedy.

Full-frontal nudity becomes commonplace by the end credits.

Mark Ruffalo demonstrates fine comic timing in support as a hedonistic, moustachioed dandy while Willem Dafoe's Scottish accent (appropriated from Gray's book) treks leisurely around the Celtic diaspora.

Production design of gargantuan physical sets is ravishing while Ryan's inventive camerawork captures lavish costumes in their glory, including sparing use of a fish-eye lens to amp up the wonderful weirdness.

Unorthodox scientist Dr Godwin Baxter (Dafoe) reclaims the near-lifeless body of his pregnant wife Victoria Blessington (Stone) from a river after she throws herself off a bridge.

The madcap medic christens his Frankenstein-esque creation Bella and charts his ward's emotional and psychological development including the moment she discovers the art of self-pleasure with the aid of fruit.

"Bella discover happy when she want," she whoops.

The scientist's devoted student, Max McCandles (Ramy Youssef), is bewitched by Bella and he assists Baxter in closely monitoring her interactions.

Alas, Bella lavishes her affection on rakish lawyer Duncan Wedderburn (Ruffalo) and he spirits her away on a globe-trotting adventure, far removed from Baxter's tender care.

Poor Things is tightly handcuffed to Stone's extraordinary performance.

She commits ferociously and wholeheartedly to her portrayal of wide-eyed innocence and richly deserves to join an elite club of two-time Oscar winners.

Lanthimos's impeccably furnished ship feels a little rudderless in the middle hour when Bella and Duncan take to the high seas but after the characters make land again, narrative thrust increases.

Brilliantly and breathlessly bonkers but not for the faint of heart.


The Herald: Poor Things. Pictured: Mark Ruffalo as Duncan WedderburnPoor Things. Pictured: Mark Ruffalo as Duncan Wedderburn (Image: FREE)


George Clooney slides back into the director's chair for a dramatisation of a life-affirming true story of sporting underdogs rising to the challenge.

Based on Daniel James Brown's book, The Boys In The Boat steps back in time to the Depression era as families struggle to survive across America.

Joe Rantz (Callum Turner) is homeless following the death of his mother and his father's abandonment.

Poised to be thrown out of school into a stagnant job market, Joe responds to an offer of free tuition at the University of Washington to any young man who can win a spot on the rowing team under Coach Al Ulbrickson (Joel Edgerton).

Joe makes the cut and earns a place at the hallowed hall of learning where one of his classmates turns out to be childhood friend Joyce (Hadley Robinson).

Ulbrickson and fellow coaches demand complete dedication on the water and they mould Joe and classmates into a cohesive unit.

Defying the odds and the naysayers, Ulbrickson prepares to enter his rowing team as the American crew at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.


Revenge is served ice cold with a flurry of fists in a propulsive action thriller directed by David Ayer from a script penned by Kurt Wimmer.

Mr Clay (Jason Statham) enjoys a simple, uncluttered life in the countryside, far removed from his shadowy past as an operative of a powerful and clandestine organisation known as the Beekeepers.

His neighbour Mrs Parker (Phylicia Rashad) is a trusted friend and he looks upon her as family.

She falls victim to a phishing scam, which steals her life savings and drives Mrs Parker to suicide.

Utilising his elite skill set, Clay vows revenge against the company responsible for the swindle and he burns the offices to the ground.

The company's CEO, Wallace Westwyld (Jeremy Irons), recognises the serious threat that one man poses against his global operation.

Westwyld calls in favours with friends in high political office to amass an army of gun-toting goons to prevent Clay from learning the full extent of the scamming operation and its beneficiaries.


In 2017, the critically acclaimed comedy Mean Girls gained a new lease of life as an award-winning stage musical with a book by screenwriter Tina Fey, music by Jeff Richmond and lyrics by Nell Benjamin.

The Broadway run was curtailed by the Covid pandemic and a West End production will premiere at the Savoy Theatre in June this year.

Fey and Tim Meadows reprise their roles as teacher Ms Norbury and school headmaster Mr Duvall in a film adaptation of the stage production, co-directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr.

Raised in the African bush by her anthropologist parents, 15-year-old Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) moves back to America and enrols at North Shore High School where she is treated as a social outcast by the various cliques.

Misfits Janis (Auli'i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey) befriend Cady and persuade the new girl to infiltrate a coterie of the most popular students known as The Plastics, ruled by Regina George (Renee Rapp).

Keen to impress Janis and Damian, Cady agrees to their plan, but the more time she spends with Regina and her mean girl chumettes Gretchen (Bebe Wood) and Karen (Avantika), the nastier she becomes in turn.