‘Poor Things’ Wows Venice With Biggest Ovation So Far

Yorgos Lanthimos, who wowed at the Venice Film Festival five years ago with The Favourite, was welcomed back like a returning prince with his new film Poor Things.

The Venice crowd got to their feet Friday night after the world premiere of the film, which stars Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe and Ramy Youssef, giving a raucous, 10-minute standing ovation, with many in the audience shouting “Yorgos! Yorgos!” at the director.

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Lanthimos was clearly enjoying it, getting up from his seat to great fans, pumping hands and signing autographs.

The film’s actors were unable to attend due to the SAG-AFTRA strike. (Poor Things is a studio title and will be released by Disney’s Searchlight.)

The rapturous reception here could mark the film for greater things, similar to the arc followed by Lanthimos’ The Favourite, which debuted on the Lido in 2018, winning two awards — the best actress Volpi Cup for star Olivia Coleman and a special jury prize for Lanthimos — and springboarding into pole position for that year’s awards season.

There is already major awards buzz for Lanthimos’ latest, not least for Stone, who gives a fearless and hilarious performance as Bella Baxter, a young woman who attempts suicide only to be re-animated, Frankenstein-like, by a clearly unhinged surgeon and scientist, played by Dafoe, another role with awards potential. Stone also produced Poor Things, alongside Lanthimos.

Ruffalo, playing a caddish English gentleman with debauchery on his mind who entices Bella to follow him on a sex-filled surrealistic journey of self-discovery, was a favorite among the press who screened the film earlier today.

Poor Things is set for a U.S. release from Searchlight on Dec. 8.

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