Mary Shelley - 3 Stars
Remarkably Mary Shelley is the collateral damage of her own bio-pic.
The love affair between poet Percy Shelley and 18 year old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, which resulted in Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein.
Elle Fanning is an incredible actress and her performance here is simply stunning. However, the script actually sidelines Mary Shelley in favour of focusing on her husband. It actually seems to be his story rather than hers - the resulting success of Mary is only due to his terrible behaviour toward her. It’s incredibly sad that in 2017 a female author who wrote an incredible work is still sidelined in her own biopic. This film seems to celebrate the men (who are terrible to her) more than her - “aren’t they great for letting her write and giving her the credit for her own book.” Now, while its true Frankenstein wouldn’t have been published without her husband this film really over glorifies his role, making him a hero (when he’s actually horrible and neglectful to her - which is what inspired Frankenstein!)
The cast is strong, Fanning is a true master and the camera loves Douglas Booth. Tom Sturridge and Ciara Charteris both play their roles brilliant. Stephen Dillane is a scene stealer in his few brief scenes. The script is a little all over the place - some dialogue is overly romanticised, expositional and unnatural, while some scenes are written brilliantly. The cinematography is brilliant, the music compelling, but it still doesn’t feel quite right as a tribute to Mary Shelley.
Overall the male centric nature of the biopic really detracts from Mary Shelley’s incredible life and work.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Picture This