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9 movies similar to Poor Things

These are nine movies that are similar, in content, to Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things”.

“Poor Things” is a 2023 science fantasy black comedy-drama directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and written by Tony McNamara. Set in a twisted version of Victorian London (and involving a journey across Europe), the film is based on the novel of the same name, from Alasdair Gray. It stars Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, among others. The plot centres on Bella Baxter, a young woman resurrected with an infant’s brain. Her journey explores themes of identity, love, and existential questions. It’s a movie full of dark humour, sexual content and has a core message of female empowerment.

If Poor Things left you craving for more like this, these are nine movies that will scratch a similar itch.

1. The Lobster (2015)

“The Lobster” is a unique and unconventional film set in a dystopian society where single people must find a romantic partner within 45 days or be transformed into an animal of their choice. The story follows David (Colin Farrell), as he navigates this bizarre world, exploring themes of love, conformity, and societal pressure. Like Poor Things, The Lobster is directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and it shares a similar darkly comedic tone and surreal approach to exploring societal norms and human relationships. Both films challenge viewers with their satirical portrayal of polite society, blending absurdity with social commentary.

2. The Favourite (2018)

“The Favourite” is a darkly comedic period drama set in early 18th-century England. It centers around the frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), and the intense rivalry between her close friend, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), and a new servant, Abigail (Emma Stone), who vie for the Queen’s favour. The film, also directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, is renowned for its sharp wit, intricate plot, and exploration of power dynamics and manipulation within the royal court. Similarly to Poor Things, The Favourite showcases Lanthimos’s signature style of blending dark comedy with drama. He does this while delving into complex character relationships and the absurdities of societal hierarchies.

3. Frankenstein (1931)

“Frankenstein” (1931) is a seminal horror film based on Mary Shelley’s classic novel. It follows the ambitious scientist Dr. Henry Frankenstein, who becomes obsessed with creating life from dead tissue. His experiments lead to the creation of a monstrous, misunderstood creature, sparking a series of tragic events. The film is a landmark in horror cinema, renowned for its atmospheric direction and the iconic portrayal of the monster by Boris Karloff. Similar to Poor Things, Frankenstein delves into the moral and ethical complexities of life creation and resurrection, exploring the consequences of scientific hubris and the blurring of lines between life and death. Both films engage with the theme of rebirth and the repercussions of manipulating nature.

4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is a science fiction romantic drama that explores the complexities of memory and relationships. The film follows Joel Barish, played by Jim Carrey, who, heartbroken after a painful breakup with his girlfriend Clementine, played by Kate Winslet, discovers she has had her memories of their relationship erased. In desperation, Joel undergoes the same procedure, only to realize during the process that he wants to preserve his memories of her. This imaginative and poignant film combines elements of romance, science fiction, and psychological drama, presenting a unique narrative about love and memory. Similarly to Poor Things, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” delves into themes of identity, memory, and the human psyche. Both films explore how altering one’s consciousness can lead to unexpected and profound consequences. Both movies use absurdity to convey these themes.

Also from Charlie Kaufman: Orion and the Dark (2024) Review

5. Being John Malkovich (1999)

“Being John Malkovich” is a surreal comedy-drama directed by Spike Jonze, written by Charlie Kaufman. The film follows a puppeteer, Craig Schwartz, who discovers a portal that leads directly into the mind of the famous actor John Malkovich. Craig, along with his wife Lotte and colleague Maxine, exploit this bizarre phenomenon, leading to a series of increasingly strange and complex situations involving identity, consciousness, and desire. The film’s unique narrative and quirky humour create a distinctive and thought-provoking experience. In relation to Poor Things, Being John Malkovich shares themes of manipulation of consciousness and identity, offering a similarly unconventional and satirical look at the human experience. Both films delve into the surreal aspects of existence, challenging perceptions of self and reality.

Also from Charlie Kaufman: Movies similar to Orion and the Dark (2024)

6. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

“Pan’s Labyrinth” is a dark fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro, set in post-Civil War Spain. The story revolves around a young girl named Ofelia, who, along with her pregnant mother, moves in with her stern and authoritarian stepfather, a Captain in the Spanish army. In this oppressive environment, Ofelia discovers a mysterious labyrinth and meets a faun who sets her on a quest. On that quest, she must prove herself as the reincarnation of an underworld princess. The film masterfully blends historical drama with fantasy elements, creating a narrative about innocence and escapism. Like Poor Things, Pan’s Labyrinth intertwines a historical setting with fantastical elements, exploring themes of identity, transformation, and the blurred lines between reality and fantasy.

7. Brazil (1985)

“Brazil” (1985), directed by Terry Gilliam, is a dystopian science fiction film set in a retro-futuristic world riddled with bureaucratic and Orwellian overtones. The story follows Sam, a low-level government employee, who finds himself trapped in a nightmare of administrative error and inefficiency. His life takes a turn when he tries to correct an error caused by a bug in the system. This small mission leads him into a surreal journey of rebellion, romance, and fantasy. The film is acclaimed for its visual style, satirical tone, and imaginative storytelling. Similar to Poor Things, Brazil presents a dark, satirical view of society and human relationships, using a unique blend of fantasy and reality to explore themes of identity, freedom, and the absurdity of the bureaucratic world. Both films challenge viewers with their complex narratives and richly imagined worlds, offering a critique of societal norms and conventions.

8. Anomalisa (2015)

“Anomalisa” is a stop-motion animated film directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson. The story centers on Michael Stone, an author and motivational speaker, who perceives everyone around him as having the same face and voice. This changes when he meets Lisa, a seemingly ordinary woman who stands out to him as unique, sparking a profound connection. The film delves into themes of alienation, identity, and the search for meaning in a monotonous world. Its innovative use of animation and storytelling creates a deeply introspective and emotionally resonant experience. In relation to Poor Things, Anomalisa explores similar themes of identity and the human psyche, presenting a unique perspective on self-discovery and the complexities of human relationships.

These were eight movies that are similar to Poor Things. What movie do you think would make a perfect pairing with Poor Things? Let us know in the comments below.

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