Even 4 Oscars Can’t Change Reddit’s Verdict: Poor Things Is a Poor Adaptation

Even 4 Oscars Can’t Change Reddit’s Verdict: Poor Things Is a Poor Adaptation
Image credit: Searchlight Pictures

Poor Things hasn’t become an exception when “the book vs the movie” issue arose.


  • Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things, based on Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel, took some liberties from it, which evoked much discussion among netizens.
  • It is claimed to misinterpret the original book in its perspective.

One of the most remarkable last year’s movies is, definitely, Poor Things, which follows Bella Baxter (Emma Stone ), a woman who is brought back to life via transplantation of the mind of a baby into her body and then embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery.

Directed by the Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, who is famous for his original screenplays for the movies Dogtooth (2009) and The Lobster (2015), the 2023 drama turns out to be an adaptation of Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel titled Poor Things: Episodes from the Early Life of Archibald McCandless M.D., Scottish Public Health Officer.

The adapted movie script, written by Tony McNamara, took some liberties with its book source, concerning both seemingly insignificant details and the switch of the perspective of the movie.

Even 4 Oscars Can’t Change Reddit’s Verdict: Poor Things Is a Poor Adaptation - image 1

While some changes didn’t really evoke much discussion, for example, the addition of Margaret Qualley’s character or, on the opposite, the absence of some book characters, other alterations left fans of the original quite divided.

Risking to depict Scottish culture well enough, Lanthimos decided to set the movie in London, while some Internet users claimed that removing Scotland from the whole project is one of its biggest disappointments.

Besides, many fans’ were angry about the minor changes made by Poor Things’ screenwriter, but that’s not the most interesting part of comparing the film to the book.

The main novel’s admirers’ complaint implies that the movie’s creators changed its perspective, making Bella the main narrator, who actually got most of the attention and much more decisions to make than it’s presented in Gray’s book.

To their opinion, the novel, being some kind of a reimagination of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, mostly explored themes of the results of the human desire to get more power of the world’s creatures, and not the topic of feminism, which is considered to be the film’s leitmotif.

“I feel like the filmmakers either didn't read the whole book or they didn't understand it at all. Or they understood it and rejected Gray's entire worldview,” says Redditor @IN_AMORE_NON_SUM in a profound commentary, criticizing the movie adaptation.

While the question “Which is better, the book or the film?” will continue to be asked if we talk about the adaptations, there is no doubt that Poor Things presents such a high level of direction and the art of acting that is almost impossible to achieve.

You can stream Lanthimos’ masterpiece, which is available now on Disney+ .

Source: Reddit