Why is Poor Things rated R? Scenes and plot discussed 

poor things yorgos lanthimos movie
True cinema isn't shy (Image via Searchlight Pictures)

Yorgos Lanthimos is the director of the upcoming 2023 comedy-fantasy film Poor Things, which is written by The Favourite writer Tony McNamara. The gothic film is slated for release on December 8, 2023. On December 22, 2023, the film is set to have a wider release, shaking up the jolly season. Willem Dafoe and Mark Ruffalo co-star alongside Emma Stone in the film, which has an R-rating due to nudity, sexual content, and gore.

The 1992 novel by Alasdair Gray, also titled Poor Things, was the inspiration for the film, which is now being compared to a feminist Frankenstein. Therefore, what is this film's narrative? Who all are starring in it? And why is the Gothic story set in the Victorian era rated R? Here's everything fans need to know about the surreal beauty from the mind of Academy Award winner Lanthimos.

Why is Poor Things rated R? Scenes explored


Poor Things, the most recent film by The Lobster's director, is rated R, which makes sense considering that it supposedly contains more graphic scenes than practically all contemporary films. These comprise, but are not restricted to, full-frontal nudity, masturbation, and sex scenes.

At a press conference during the Venice Film Festival, the director also cracked jokes and said the following about the film not shying away from nudity at the New York Film Festival:

“It’s weird, isn’t it? Why is there no sex in movies? He added mentioning the sex scenes ”It was a very intrinsic part of the novel itself, her freedom in everything, including sexuality, It was very important for me to not make a film that was going to be prude because that would be completely betraying the main character. We had to be confident Emma had to have no shame about her body, nudity, engaging in those scenes, and she understood that right away.”

For Emma Stone's most recent film, director Yorgos Lanthimos felt it was important to take a non-judgmental stance towards sexuality. Poor Things, based on Alasdair Gray's 1992 novel, tells the story of a woman who receives a fresh start through a scientific experiment from Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe), a kind of mad scientist.

After being reborn, Bella progressively learns about the world's wonders and perils. Her sexual awakening is one of those revelations, and therefore it makes sense for the film, being an adaptation, to feature an R rating.

What is Poor Things movie about? Plot revealed

As previously mentioned, Poor Things is not entirely original. The screenwriter of The Favorite, Tony McNamara, has adapted from the 1992 book by Alasdair Gray.

While there are similarities between the movie and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the film takes a fresh and entirely different approach to the idea, a feminist one, to be accurate. The amazing story of Poor Things follows the life of Bella Baxter, a young lady who is revived by Dr. Godwin Baxter, an eccentric scientist of extraordinary brilliance.


Under Dr. Baxter's supervision and security, Bella starts to change until her desire to learn and explore the wonderful world takes over. She falls in love with Duncan Wedderburn, a cunning and corrupt lawyer, and goes on an exciting journey with him.

Everything seems strange in Yorgos Lanthimos' amazing Poor Things right from the beginning of the picture. Given that the film is about an individual learning about the outside world for the very first time, Lanthimos' movie feels like how that experience would be.

It masterfully captures the childlike view of the world everyone's familiar with thanks to its unusual colors, fisheye lenses, and narrative elements. It feels both foreign and familiar, like a partially accurate memory. Here is Searchlight Pictures' official synopsis for the upcoming film:

“From filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and producer Emma Stone comes the incredible tale and fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter (Stone), a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). Under Baxter’s protection, Bella is eager to learn. Hungry for the worldliness she is lacking, Bella runs off with Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo), a slick and debauched lawyer, on a whirlwind adventure across the continents. Free from the prejudices of her times, Bella grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.”

How can I watch Poor Things?

On December 8, 2023, Poor Things will open in a few theaters across America. On December 22, 2023, it will have a wider release. On January 12, 2024, the movie will be released in the UK and Ireland.

The exact date for when the film will be available to stream by fans worldwide is yet to be confirmed. However, when the time comes, it is anticipated that the R-rated film will be available for streaming on Hulu.

Regarding the precise date of this, looking at previous films by the studio, it has held off films for an online release for roughly six weeks, so a streaming release in February or March 2024 is conceivable.

Who stars in Poor Things?

Poor Things, Yorgos Lanthimos's latest film, is generating a lot of Oscar anticipation already. Emma Stone will play Bella Baxter, the movie's main character. Given that they already have a film named and in the works, the director and actor team appear to get along well. The actress stated the following about her role:

"I wanted to play Bella because it felt like acceptance of what it is to be a woman, to be free, to be scared and brave. She's understanding what it is to be a member of society. The more autonomous she becomes, the more challenged these men seem to be by it."

A strong ensemble of well-known and intriguing actors rounds out Poor Things' supporting cast. The role of Dr. Godwin Baxter, an oddball scientist who conducts the experiment on Bella Baxter, is ideally played by Willem Dafoe.

In addition, Mark Ruffalo plays Duncan Wedderbum, the lawyer in the film. The actor who will portray Sir Aubrey de la Pole Blessington is Christopher Abbott. The entertainers Ramy Youssef and Jarod Carmichael, who play Max McCandless and Harry Astley, respectively, Kathryn Hunter, who plays Swiney, and Margaret Qualley, who plays Felicity, complete the cast of the movie.

A scene in which Stone slaps Dafoe in the face off-camera highlights the brilliance of the director and the talented cast. Dafoe had the actress slap him in real life approximately 20 times in order to make the scenes look more believable.

August 2021 saw the start of filming in Hungary, and it was completed before the end of the year. Now, Poor Things is scheduled to open in a few theaters on December 8.

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Edited by Tiasha