Entries in Bel Powley (2)



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.


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. 





In EQUALS, Director Drake Doremus presents a vision of the future that is bleak. Emotion is looked upon like a disease. A pill called “inhibitors” blocks any emotion that naturally takes places. If your emotions are switched on, they call it "Switch on Syndrome" (S.O.S. for short) and it is not a good thing if this happens. If it does and you're caught, you are sent to the Defective Emotional Neuropathy Center where you go through rehabilitation. If it doesn't stick, you're killed. So there's that.

We follow Silas (Nicholas Hoult) and Nia (Kristen Stewart). Silas has been diagnosed with "S.O.S." Silas connects with Nia as he hasn't with anyone before. He recognizes something in her. Stewart plays to her strengths here, with a muted performance that feels like emotions could be boiling over at any minute. The world they live in has cured everything from the common cold to cancer. But should it be curing emotions as well? And for what reason? Doremus and co-screenwriter Nathan Parker weave a very intriguing tale that doesn't always answer the bigger world building questions (on purpose) but does make a fascinating, and frustrating, dystopian tale work. Hoult and Stewart are strong leads here and you want them to make it through together. Experienced through a lot of close-ups and blue lenses, EQUALS may frustrate some. But it fascinated me much more than it drove me mad. And a little bit of both can be a very good thing.



WRITTEN BY Drake Doremus and Nathan Parker DIRECTED BY Drake Doremus STARRING Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart, Vernetta Lopez, Bel Powley, David Selby.


FINAL THOUGHTS: A striking, if sometimes frustrating, vision of a bleak future and solid performances throughout.