Mary Shelley

Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour
Year Released: 2017
Rating: 0.0

Mary Wollstonecraft-Godwin (Elle Fanning), who lives with her anarchist father William Godwin (Owen Richards) and step-sister Claire (Bel Powley), has an encounter with the poet Percy Shelley (Douglas Booth) in Scotland and they start a love affair (despite Percy being married) - all of this culminates in Mary writing Frankenstein, which would make her famous.  The film falls into the common trap most movies do about writers (life! of! the! mind!) and tries making them as flamboyant as possible, pretentiously reciting their own poetry while swilling liquor and always forgetting to tuck their shirts in and wash their faces, and adds to that long, seemingly endless scenes of everyone being Deadly Serious in which it suffocates itself.  As an admirer of the Romantics (I studied them in graduate school), I was dismayed at the portrayal of not only Percy but Lord Byron (Tom Sturridge): Al-Mansour, along with Emma Jensen, want to view Mary's life through a feminist lens instead of adhering to pesky things like documented facts.  If you're going to make a biopic, do your damn homework.  Keats got lucky: Jane Campion covered his (too brief) time on cruel Earth.