I’m surprised this is what makes me feel like writing again. But apparently I have a lot of feelings and thoughts. Mary Shelley is one of my favourite writers and people in general. This movie was not, it has not been good.
I want to start with the good. The actors – Elle Fanning? Great, amazing even! Douglas Booth – fitting for the role, yet I think he was written in a weird way. Everyone else too, was more or less good. Considering the actors are actually quite good, it sometimes feels like they just got their lines minutes before and only shot scenes once. Maisie Williams, for example, felt so stiff and uncomfortable.
The dialogue in my opinion was a disaster, some of it was so awkward and surreal. At times it felt like they wanted the movie to be quotable and like olden times, but did not succeed.
A lot of the plot revolves around romance between Percy and Mary, and the subplot with Claire – are they having an affair/aren’t they? – was quite present and that would have all been fine, if it had been less episodic and unfocused by bringing in thousand of aspects (Hoggs?).
The filming and especially the lightning was beautiful, but the way it was edited and cut felt just so clumsy and awkward. It made me feel uncomfortable at times, because it was so weird. It did not tie together well. They tried showing a lot, but all of it a bit half-assed. I fail to understand why the evil stepmother trope had to come in.
The nature shots – beautiful, but they did not work at all. They seemed like unneccessary time spent. And I get it, a big part of Mary’s work are the beautiful nature descriptions, but in the movie it seemed completely out of place. Unlike for example nature shots in Jane Austen movies where they also convey emotion through it, this felt like wanting to show of these super neat nature shorts.
Probably the best thing was the portrayal of Byron – he was unlikeable and eccentric, which I appreciated. The costume, casting and makeup was at it’s peak here! The last scene he has with Mary – he just looked like that famous portrait (also, I do love eyeliner and eccentric clothing on men). Percy however was written so poorly – the flirting with Mary and them getting aquainted was fine, but after that he is just a completely unlikeable person with no redeemable traits which makes the ending kind of hard to understand. And while I am sure he had his flaws, from what I gathered he was idealistic and deeply broken inside and not just a drunk jerk. At one point I was rooting for Polidori (tragically beautiful portrayed by Ben Hardy!) to woo Mary.
From about the time in Geneva it was fine, but up until that point this movie was just bad. It’ felt messy, lazyly edited and lengthy.
It was not a horrible movie, but it was not a good one by any means.
If it had been stripped of the Mary Shelley aspect and just been turned into a dramatic romance, I would have been fine. But doing her so dirty, by basically reducing her to being little other than in love with Percy, feels agrivating.
What I took away from it is, that I really want to read Polidori’s The Vampyre now.