"MARY SHELLEY" // TRIBECA 2018 REVIEW
Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 4:14PM
The Artswire Weekly in Bel Powley, Douglas Booth, Elle Fanning, Emma Jensen, Film Reviews, Frankenstein, Frankenstein's Monster, Haifaa al-Mansour, Joanne Froggatt, Maisie Williams, Mary Shelley, Reviews by Mateo Moreno, Tom Sturridge, Tribeca Film Festival 2018
BY MATEO MORENO

Elle Fanning stars as the title character in MARY SHELLY, the new film that explores the real creator of Frankenstein. No, we're not talking about Dr. Frankenstein here, we're speaking of Mary Shelley, who started this future masterpiece when she was only 18. She's a teenager who was fond of spooky stories and helps out at her family's bookstore. Her mother has died at birth and her father, William Godwin (Stephen Dilane), sends her away to Scotland where she meets her first love, poet Percey Shelley (Douglas Booth). He's older and married, so a traditional romance is out of the question. But a romance begins none the less. She ends up, with her stepsister Claire (Bel Powley) by her side, running away from him and finding out that a fairy tale ending is far from the projected path of her story.

 

The film is shot beautifully but fails to really latch onto who Mary was, or what drove her and inspired her spark of genius. The juiciest parts of the film sadly lay in the male cast (particularly Douglas Booth and a terrific Tom Sturridge as Lord Byron). Being that the writer and director are both females and the film tells of one of the great female trailblazing writers, this seems like a big misstep. Elle Fanning is good, but dull, and I'm not so sure that's her fault, as she's a magnetic actress elsewhere. Here, the film mismanages her talents and keeps us, and the audience, at an arm’s length away from both Fanning and Shelley. There's a very conventional tale being told in this film (just listen to the oddly placed soundtrack), but her life was anything but.

VERDICT: SKIP IT

WRITTEN BY Emma Jensen DIRECTED BY Haifaa al-Mansour STARRING Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, Bel Powley, Joanne Froggatt, Tom Sturridge, Maisie Williams. Playing as part of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. 

https://www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/mary-shelley-2018

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