HOLLYWOOD—I don’t understand the critical love for the whacky dramedy/sci-fi flick “Poor Things.” I know so many people in the cinematic universe that are gushing over this movie. This film is so quirky and odd that either you love it or hate it, and I didn’t love this flick, and it is because it is boring. There is no hook in this film that keeps you fully entertained. At first you feel like “Poor Things” is a science experiment gone wrong, but there is more to it.

Think “Barbie,” but imagine you have a creator who is trying to shape you into one way, but you soon discover new ways to behave the more she interacts with other people. This is what we see with Bella Baxter (Stone), in a role unlike anything seen from the actress. There are lots and lots of nudity and sex, things that surprised me. She is the creation of surgeon Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe), who replaces her brain with that of an infant. As a result, Bella is an adult woman who behaves like a child throwing tantrums when things don’t go her way.

She has a bit of a sexual awakening one day that starts to concern Godwin and his student Max McCandles (Ramy Youssef), who is attracted to Bella because of her antics. However, Bella is constantly evolving and upon meeting lawyer Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo), she really matures. These two engage in tons of sex and its odd and uncomfortable to watch at times. It has gotten to the point that even Duncan is exhausted and tries to tame Bella to no success. The theme for me in witnessing “Poor Things” is you cannot control people even if you think you’re they’re creator. People will always want to break free and once you unleash the genie from the bottle you cannot put it back in.

Director Yorgos Lanthimos is no stranger to eccentric and out-there films. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “The Lobster” and “The Favourite” which was a critical darling that earned loads of Oscar nominations and it was a damn entertaining movie. Lanthimos is a talent behind the camera that controls narratives in a way that you never expect. I loved how he played with the color scheme of this movie. We start out in black and white and soon transition to color, and I understand the reasons behind that.

It is a transition for Bella who has been trapped inside and when she gets a taste of the outside world we see a totally different side of this character, one that makes you scratch your head. I feel the sex scenes were a bit excessive in the movie and I’m still trying to pinpoint if that was part of Bella’s growth or there was more going on that I haven’t fully comprehended just yet. At almost two hours and 30 minutes, it is hard to watch this movie multiple times and truly dissect as I’ve done with movies in film criticism courses.

What is the director trying to say, what is the writer trying to say, what are the characters trying to say? I had more questions after watching the movie than I had when I watched the movie, which means the filmmaker may have accomplished their goal, I just wanted to be more entertained while watching. “Poor Things” was not my favorite movie of 2023, it is indeed a thinker and perhaps on another re-watch I may find a bigger appreciation for the story that was told.