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Emma Stone responds to suggestions that ‘Poor Things’ is “sexist”

Emma Stone has responded to critics of her film Poor Things, who have suggested that the film is sexist and exploitative.

The recent Oscar-nominated film sees the actress play Bella Baxter, a dead woman brought back to life by a mad scientist in Victorian London after having the brain of an unborn baby put in her head, before going on a journey of sexual discovery.

However, some have criticised the film, suggesting that it presents consent issues considering Bella has the brain of a child, while the fact that it is directed by a man – Yorgos Lanthimos – could suggest it is sexist.

Speaking to The Times, Stone said: “If it helps, as the person who played it and produced it, I didn’t see her as a child in any of those scenes.”

“But even that’s too literal,” Lanthimos added. “If you take a film that literally, where you start discussing it in terms of the brain of a child, then you’re kind of missing the point of storytelling in general. If you start to analyse the film as something that would actually happen, then of course the film doesn’t work.”

Stone went on to reflect on films being criticised in the social media age, revealing: “My mum has this saying that at the start of a relationship you say, ‘Oh we’re so in love we finish each other’s sentences.’ And then, as time goes by, it becomes, ‘You’re always interrupting me.’

“That can happen in a relationship with film, too, especially a film like this, that’s asking more questions than giving answers. I know people who’ve seen the film and think it’s just the sweetest romantic comedy, and others who had to watch it through their fingers. And that’s great.”

Emma Stone and director Yorgos Lanthimos attend a UK Special Screening of Searchlight Pictures’, ‘Poor Things’ at Odeon West End on February 01, 2024 in London, England. CREDIT: Getty / Kate Green/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK

Last month, it was confirmed that one sex scene in Poor Things was so contentious that it had to be edited in order to fit UK law, even under an 18 certificate.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) said in a statement: “We originally saw this film for advice. We informed the distributor we would be likely to classify the film 18 on condition that changes be made to one short sequence depicting sexual activity in the presence of children.

“This is in accordance with the Protection of Children Act 1978. When the distributor submitted the film for formal classification, the scene had been re-edited, and we were able to classify the film 18.”

In NME‘s four-star review of Poor Things, we said: “With a cunning use of old-school techniques (like matte paintings) and digital trickery, Poor Things is also ravishing to look at. While its oddball nature won’t be to all tastes, the championing of female guile over insufferable male idiocy will surely leave many with a big smile on their faces.”



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