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Needed More Fire

Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley

Directed By: Haifaa as-Mansour

Grade: C+

So Stannis Baratheon has two daughters in this who rush off into scandalous relationships and illegitimate children. No one burns alive. I think he’s finally learning. Which is a good thing because that’s not the kind of fire this movie needs.

I was very much looking forward to Mary Shelley and thrilled to see it streaming because it’s playing nowhere in my neighborhood. So thank you Apple 🙂

Elle Fanning plays the lead character (the woman who wrote Frankenstein) we catch her at 16 right as she meets Percy Shelley (Douglas Booth) and runs off with him despite the fact that he’s already got a wife. The relationship is quiet scandalous and leads her father William Godwin (Stephen Dillane) to essentially disown her.

The course of true love, as they say, never runs smooth. Percy likes to drink hasn’t got any money and a lot of guilt over the whole other wife thing. Plus Mary’s sister Claire (whom ran away with them) starts up a fling with Lord Byron. There’s a child and creditors and it’s all very pretty…

But the previews promised fire. Okay, they promised feminist fire. But there was really no fire whatsoever.

I’ve liked the cast in other things but they didn’t really do anything for me. I think we needed a Mary with  more fire than either Elle or the script could provide. I can’t help wonder what someone like Anya Taylor Joy or even Sophie Turner could have done with the role.

I also didn’t really buy Fanning and Booth as this star-crossed couple. And Claire (Bel Powley) was annoying. I wasn’t sure what was wrong with her but I honestly don’t care enough to look it up.

However I did like the parts where Frankenstein is forming. A play that Mary sees, the meeting of a Doctor and especially her own loneliness and misery play into the creation of the strangely sympathetic monster. The atmosphere around those things and the famous stay in Geneva with Byron were the best parts.

I love stories wrapped about the creative process.

There was also some tidbits about Mary’s mother and father that actually had me far more interested in that story than the one I was watching.

Mary Shelley falls somewhere down the middle for me movie wise. It had moments, potential and prettiness but needed a different cast and/or the bolt of electricity that brought the monster to life.

Recommend: 50/50. But wait until you can view if for free.

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