Froj “Grand Appetites and Poor ThingsAnthony Lane, The New Yorker, 12.1.23:

“One of the funniest things about Poor Things is the headline that appeared in Variety after the film’s première at the Venice Film Festival, on September 1st: ‘Emma Stone’s Graphic Poor Things Sex Scenes Make Venice Erupt in 8-Minute Standing Ovation.’

“Laying aside the giveaway verb — no eruptive dysfunction here — one can but marvel at the blush of puritan shockability in such a response. It’s a charming idea that the audience was stirred not by any dramatic skills on the part of the leading lady but exclusively by her valor as she dared to feign the gymnastic arts of love.

“There is indeed a fair dollop of carnality in Lanthimos’s movie, but it’s hardly a torrent. ‘Furious jumping,’ Bella calls it, in a fine example of her poetic plain speaking, and, having sampled it, she wants more. Sprawled in postcoital languor next to [Mark Ruffalo‘s] Duncan, she asks, ‘Why do people not do this all the time?’ — an excellent question to which I, like Duncan, have no satisfactory reply.

“What matters most is that the sex, pace Variety, is not some isolated bout of friskiness; it takes its place in a larger comedy of appetites, as Bella hungers to steep herself in experience. If she dislikes a mouthful of food, she spits it out. When she dances, she jerks like a doll gone mad.”

New Yorker illustration by Agata Nowicka.