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April 4, 2024 108 mins

This week, poor things Jamie, Caitlin, and special guest Amanda Montell discuss Poor Things! Here's the link to the Polygon piece "The book Poor Things is based on is even stranger than the film" -- https://www.polygon.com/24093718/poor-things-hulu-oscars-book-differences  

Follow Amanda on Instagram at @amanda_montell and @soundslikeacultpod, and order her book here: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Age-of-Magical-Overthinking/Amanda-Montell/9781668007976 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Attention Bechdel Cast listeners.

Speaker 2 (00:03):
We're going on tour, baby, and it's not just any tour.
It's the Shrek Tannic Tour. That's right. Shrek and or
Titanic are the movies recovering on this tour at the
demand of us, and you question mark, see you there,
We'll figure it out.

Speaker 3 (00:21):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (00:22):
Our first leg of the tour is in London on
May twenty second. There are two shows that night, a
six point thirty show on Shrek and a nine o'clock
show on Titanic.

Speaker 2 (00:34):
Next, on May twenty fourth, we are going to be
in Oxford as a part of the Saint Audio Podcast Festival.

Speaker 1 (00:42):
Then we're scooting up to Edinburgh. On May twenty sixth
we are covering Shrek.

Speaker 2 (00:47):
Then on May twenty eighth we are in Manchester once
again covering Titanic.

Speaker 1 (00:53):
And finally a show that we recently added in Dublin
on May twenty ninth that is also a Titanic show.

Speaker 2 (01:02):
We're so excited to meet everybody. We chose two of
our favorite movies so that we can celebrate the community
and just have a good time. So please come out.
You can get all of the tickets over at our
link Tree, which is in the description link Tree slash
Bechdel Cast, and we hope to see you there. We
have such ridiculous outfits, oh my gosh, and exclusive merch

(01:26):
and everything else.

Speaker 1 (01:27):
So all right, we will see you there.

Speaker 2 (01:29):
See you there.

Speaker 4 (01:30):
On the Bechdel Cast, the questions asked if movies have
women and them, are all their discussions just boyfriends and husbands,
or do they have individualism? It's the patriarchy, Zeph and
Vast start changing it with the Bechdel Cast.

Speaker 1 (01:45):
Gool Googga, I'm horny, Hi, Caitlin, Daddy, God, are you there.
It's me Bella Baxter.

Speaker 2 (01:57):
Yes, it's me. God. Let me rationalize why I'm going
to be treating you this way for the whole movie.

Speaker 3 (02:03):
Oh my god. When you entered with google Gaga, I thought,
since we had just done a sink that required us
to count to five, I thought you'd just like run
out of numbers, that you know, and started entering sounds.

Speaker 1 (02:17):
Oh no, that was me starting the podcast.

Speaker 3 (02:20):
Cool.

Speaker 2 (02:20):
I'm so glad you said that, because this is actually
how we start every episode. We always start with a
goog go gaga. Oh, just to make everyone feel safe,
I mean Google Gaga is kind of one of the
great equalizers we still have. We've all been there.

Speaker 3 (02:33):
True, that is so true. We all are just human
beings during the babbling stage.

Speaker 2 (02:40):
It's true. I mean, what is a podcast if not
a whole bunch of Google Gaga. We are just in.

Speaker 3 (02:46):
A prolonged babbling stage.

Speaker 2 (02:52):
Welcome to the Bexel Cast. My name's Jamie Loftus.

Speaker 1 (02:55):
My name is Caitlin Droonte. This is our show where
we examine movies through an intersectional FELM this lens, using
the Bechdel test as a jumping off point. I'm like
sort of over explaining what the Bechdel test is. I
feel like people can just look it up. I'm just tired.

Speaker 2 (03:10):
Wow, Caitlyn is taking no prisoners today.

Speaker 1 (03:13):
Google Goga.

Speaker 2 (03:14):
I'm tired Google Gaga. Look it up, read a book.
I guess this is an aggressive way to start the show.
There are like three hundred episodes, so if you don't know,
you can listen to the beginning of a different episode.
We're really eager to get today's episode started, is the thing. Yeah,
and also we talk about the Bechdel test basically not

(03:34):
at all, sup.

Speaker 1 (03:35):
Right, And there's so much else to talk about with
this movie, which is poor things. Yes, that we just
have to save all the time we can.

Speaker 3 (03:43):
Yeah, cut the foreplay right.

Speaker 2 (03:46):
The only quick disclaimer we want to give it the
top is that if you're listening to this, I feel
like when we cover a movie shortly after it comes out,
it always ages a little weird because it just came out.
So if you're listening to this, it just came out
recording it the day after Emma Stone won the Best
Actress Oscar. Chances are if you listen to this episode

(04:06):
a year from now, I at least will probably feel
different about this movie. Name yeah, probably so Yeah. If
you go back and listen to us talk about a
movie shortly after it comes out, usually our feelings change.
But we've decided today and two hours or less, we
are going to be the three people to crack this movie.

(04:27):
God damn it.

Speaker 3 (04:29):
You know, our takes will age. I'm not gonna say
like a fine wine, and I'm not gonna say like milk.
I'm gonna say like a cheese cause, you know, like
a fresh guda. It tastes different than like a twenty
four month age guda. I don't know how long you
should age Gouda.

Speaker 2 (04:47):
I was like, wow, a lot of knowledge.

Speaker 3 (04:49):
Yeah, so much fucking cheese knowledge. I do love Dary,
despite what my tummy tells me. But I do think that,
like you know, this is just like the fresh gooda
version of an opinion about poor things.

Speaker 2 (05:03):
That's all I think. That's a beautiful way to put it. Yes,
this is the Poor Things episode. Literally hundreds of you
have asked for this episode. Okay, here it is. Hope
you're happy.

Speaker 3 (05:15):
You're really dumbing your listeners today.

Speaker 2 (05:18):
I know, I don't know. I think it's when we
record more than one episode in a day, the second
episode gets like needlessly agro But you can say that
of this movie as well. Okay, we're covering poor Things.
It just came out and we have an incredible guest
to figure it out with us.

Speaker 1 (05:36):
Yes we do. She is the author of Cultish and
the forthcoming book The Age of Magical Overthinking. She's the
host of the podcast sounds like a cult It's Amanda Montelho.

Speaker 2 (05:48):
Hello, welcome. Before we get into it, tell us a
little bit about the new book.

Speaker 3 (05:55):
Oh gosh, that's so nice of you to ask. Okay,
it's called The Age of Magical Overthinking Notes on modern irrationality,
and it's about cognitive biases in the information age modern
day do Lulu. So every chapter of the book is
dedicated to a different cognitive bias. Confirmation bias, sunk cost fallacy.
These are some of the most famous, but there are

(06:15):
some other really interesting ones called like the Ikea effect
and the Halo effect. And I use each of these
as a lens to explore some mysterious irrationality plaguing the
zeitgeist and my own life, from celebrity warship to weaponized
nostalgia to Instagram manifestation Gurus, So check it out.

Speaker 2 (06:35):
Amazing. That is so exciting. Huge fans of your work
Here on the pod, we simply are so excited that
you're doing the show.

Speaker 3 (06:44):
H mutual fandom all around, Yippie Google, Gotga Goo Goga.

Speaker 2 (06:51):
We're just like excited little babies. That's my favorite part.
I started going to yoga classes in the last year.

Speaker 1 (06:57):
Whoe brag.

Speaker 2 (06:59):
Yeah, not to flag, but almost every morning I like
go and then at the end of class you get
to be a little.

Speaker 3 (07:05):
Baby, happy baby. I know that one.

Speaker 2 (07:07):
Yeah, you just get to roll around on your back
and goo goo gaga and some beautiful person teaching the
class comes and like moves your foot a little bit
and it's like a little horny, but you're like, whatever,
I'm a baby. That's my poor things. Is beautiful yoga
teacher adjusting my foot while I'm a little baby. Well,

(07:30):
let's get into it, folks.

Speaker 1 (07:32):
Yeah, Amanda, what is your really? I mean, the movie
just came out. Did you see in theaters? Preliminary thoughts?

Speaker 3 (07:39):
Yeah, yeah, I saw it under really iconic circumstances. I
was living in the woods and I watched it in
like the one room movie theater that they have in
this tiny Woodland town. They pour like the most generous
movie pores of wine I've ever seen in my life
at this tiny Woodland movie amazing. They were just like,

(08:02):
you know what, We're gonna even give you a little
extra because this film is wacky. Girlfriend.

Speaker 1 (08:07):
Well, I mean poor things, generous, poor.

Speaker 2 (08:10):
Heavy, poor thing.

Speaker 3 (08:11):
Hello, yeah, they poor things, they did, they poor things.

Speaker 2 (08:16):
I love that system of like we'll give you as
much wine as the movie requires.

Speaker 3 (08:20):
Yeah, exactly. It was very that, which I appreciated so much.
And they also like provide blankets at that movie theater
so in case you got a little chilli, you can
cozy on up. So I was cozy as hell watching
this film and buzzed. And I went in with low
expectations just because like your Ghosts is a masturbatory fellow

(08:43):
and like I don't love masterbatory fellows h. So I
was going in with low expectations but high hopes a
good attitude. I also, like have a slight bias against
Emma Stone as an ongenu, which we can get into,
like I don't love her in an aure new role.
I like her as a character actor, and this was

(09:05):
kind of both. So I loved it. I mean, we'll
just I mean, this is the whole point of this podcast,
in this episode is to talk about it and get
into it. But I felt like I went in with
the right attitude to enjoy the film, and indeed I did.

Speaker 1 (09:21):
Jamie, how about you.

Speaker 2 (09:22):
I have seen this movie three times now. I saw
it right when it came out. I saw it in theaters,
and I don't know, I think that in part like
this was a movie where I saw it, I think
the week after it came out, and almost certainly the
discourse that I was avoiding still ended up coloring my
first viewing of the movie because I like your goes.

(09:46):
I haven't seen all of his work, but he has
hit or miss for me, and there's certain I think,
just in general, and we've talked about this on the
show for years at this point, there are a lot
of movies that I think are like technically good, but
it's always going to be hard for me to be
sold on work from a man adapted from another man's
work about a woman discovering and being liberated by her body,

(10:11):
Like it always just feels, even when it's really well done,
it's like hard to get me in the door for that.
That was like a big conversation we had around Carrie.
A movie I quite like, but it's like a man
adapted by a man viewed by a man, like you know, yeah,
it doesn't mean you can't get something good out of it,
but like I always come in a little bit leery
on it. And so the first time I saw it,

(10:34):
I left really conflicted, like conflicted leaning on not enjoying it.
And then the second time I watched it, I had
done some research on the author, I learned a little
bit more about the adaptation, and the second and third
viewings I'm liking it more and more each time, which
turns out I have a very complicated relationship with this movie.

(10:55):
I think that there's a lot that it's doing that's
really interesting, not all of it hits for me, And
then there's like Jerrod Carmichael's performers, there's just like, I
don't know, I don't know. I'm hoping to figure out
how I feel about this movie today. I have thousands
of worts of notes, and I feel no. I know
that when I first saw it, I didn't like it,
but I felt that way about almost every Yorgo slanthemost

(11:16):
movie that I end up coming around on, except for
the Favorite, which I just liked every single time. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (11:23):
Actually, your story of your journey reminds me of the
most important piece of backstory that I failed to mention,
which is that I wasn't even gonna see the movie
because I felt already like it was so fucking proud
of itself, which irked me right. But then several people

(11:44):
who I know to varying degrees of well but since
computes independently texted me being like, Amanda, you must see
it because of the clothes, Oh, I mean yeah, yeah,
and everybody should see it because of the clothes. But
I mean it was like a perfect manifestation of what

(12:06):
I aspire to dress. Like I was shook by it,
And people who don't even know me very well, we're
texting me like, Amanda, this movie's clothes, it's you, it's you,
especially because like I'm recently engaged. I did the proposing,
which I always feel the need to Ooh, I love
that disclaim and I want to wear like a super

(12:27):
colorful surrealist look on.

Speaker 2 (12:30):
My Gonnabella Baxter dress.

Speaker 3 (12:33):
Like yeah, so people were like, watch the movie for
your bridal inspo basically, and not her bridle gown. The
rest of it, like the mini buttery yellow shorts and
the puffy.

Speaker 2 (12:46):
Blue the blue dress nonsense, Yeah, unbelievable. I mean, yeah,
the technical elements of this movie I really love. Like
the movie is beautiful. Yorgos Anthemus knows how to make
a gorgeous movie. I don't know. I feel bad now
being like I didn't come in on this movie side
because I just get so I was talking about it

(13:07):
with my boyfriend afterwards, like I just get so irked
at going into a movie and having mostly male critics
say like this is the feminist movie of the year,
and it's like, well, how would you know that? And
then's made by like seven hundred men. I think what
I've come around on and this is something that I
feel like has not been super discussed, I guess with

(13:28):
this and with Barbie, because also this movie was existing
in conversation with Barbie, which I'm like, just let them
be separate movies. But a lot of the things I
had concerns about with this movie I was put more
at ease with upon learning that Emma Stone was an
executive producer on the movie, and so she was very
much in control of every high level decision, and that

(13:51):
made me feel better about a lot of stuff that
seemed to be an ongoing discourse, which we'll get around
to anyways. I think I like it. I don't know, Caitlin,
what's your history of this.

Speaker 1 (14:05):
I also saw it when it came out in theaters
and maybe like a week after it opened, and then
watched it twice. To prefer this, I've also seen it
three times. I would say I think I like it
less and less every time I see it.

Speaker 2 (14:18):
Wow, we all have different trajectories.

Speaker 1 (14:22):
The things I like about it, I maintain liking about it.
For example, a lot of Bella's dialogue and the way
she speaks, and just kind of her general character arc
I enjoy. For the most part, there are certain scenes
that I think are really funny, Just like the shot
where it's a close up of Bella Baxter, a closeup

(14:44):
of Max mccandle's and then a close up of a
goat is the funniest thing I've seen in a movie
in a while. I think the movie is like very
well cast and well acted, Like, oh my gosh, Mark
Ruffalo's performance, Hello, I loved it. He's gifted around. Obviously
his character is despicable, but everyone's doing a great job acting.

(15:07):
The production design is interesting, the fish eye lenses, sure,
But generally I hate Yorgoslanthemos. I don't like these movies.

Speaker 3 (15:17):
He's so polarizing.

Speaker 1 (15:19):
Yeah, Oh, Dog Tooth and The Lobster and a handful
of others. Generally I don't mind the Favorite, but like
a lot of his earlier work really upsets me. And
he has this fixation on showing cruelty to animals and
he does it and every single one of his movies.

Speaker 2 (15:37):
Yes, I mean that is The Lobster that's the whole
movie of the Lobster. And then it also just appears
in all of his other movies, either as like a
joke or as just something that's there for no reason.

Speaker 1 (15:48):
Yeah, and I can't stand it and it makes me hate.

Speaker 3 (15:52):
It is very contrarian because I don't know if anyone
else received this as a literal piece of like creative advice.
But I remember a college writing instructor sort of problematically
announcing to the class that a way to make a
character and you're writing more likable was to have a
scene where they're nice to an animal.

Speaker 2 (16:13):
Oh my god.

Speaker 1 (16:14):
Yeah, that's the whole premise of the screenwriting books save
the Cat.

Speaker 3 (16:17):
Oh okay, got it all right, So that's like conventional wisdom.
But I feel like your ghost this is a part
of what makes him frustrating and like masturbatory and all
of these things that irk us is that he's performing
so many stunts, and he's doing it with like extreme
pride in himself. Right, And I think the animal cruelty

(16:38):
as like a bit. It's very much like a little
kid who might grow up to be a sociopath setting
caterpillars on fire, but like make it.

Speaker 2 (16:47):
She sid from toy Story Coded Behavior.

Speaker 3 (16:51):
Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2 (16:53):
Yeah, fortunately the animals are CGI And I do think
that the Freaky like at least like a narrative place
of why he's doing it in this movie, because yeah,
like when it's for no reason, it feels kind of
like self satisfied and edge Lordy, which I think edge Lordy, Yes,
a lot of his movies can feel anyways, like I

(17:15):
don't know, I almost like hesitate to say that because
I just know that that causes an avalanche of similar
people to be like no, but like it's just how
I feel. I don't know. Yeah, there's Caitlyn. I feel
like we've talked about this before, but it's now more
common for like male O two is to center women

(17:37):
in their work. I think this has been an increasing
trend of the last ten years. But there's like when
it's done in a certain way, it feels very like
you're saying me like very self satisfied and very like
well I get it, ladies, and it's like.

Speaker 1 (17:53):
Self congratulatory, and it's just like let women make movies,
please and thank you.

Speaker 2 (17:59):
Yeah, so I am put a little idiots that Emma
Stone had a huge creative voice in this.

Speaker 3 (18:05):
You're right, that makes a difference. You know, if I
could make a prediction, I'd say that if I were
to see this movie thrice the way that you each have,
and forgive me for my underachievement, but I think I
would probably like it less. Well, I would like it
less in some ways and more in some ways. I

(18:26):
think I would like it more because like again, I
just want to keep seeing that fashion and like force
feeding it to myself, like fucking fashion foie gras. But
I think I would like it less because I would
start to like actually scrutinize it. Whereas when I saw it,
the element of surprise was really a factor for me

(18:49):
because I hadn't read much about it. I was just
like ugh, based on vibes, I don't want to go,
and so there was so much novelty, there was so
much surprise. Again, I was tipsy, I was letting it
wash over me. I was giggling. I mean, there are
some like really funny frames as you were mentioning, you know,
I like laughed so hard at certain points, like there's

(19:09):
this one just like very quick cut of Bella going
from like partying to like pasted out drunk in a corner.
That's just like the timing of it was so funny
and like those sort of like silly self unseerious moments
just like cued my little laughing machine and I was
just like Tee all the way through. But I think

(19:31):
if that element of surprise and the novelty were not
there anymore, I would actually start to apply my slow
thinking to the film, and in those ways, I would
like it less.

Speaker 2 (19:42):
That's what we're here to do. Yeah, wreck it for you.

Speaker 1 (19:46):
Yeah, that's what I'm starting to say that like the
things I like about the movie, I think I'll like
stay liking. But the things I don't like about it,
the more and more I see it, the.

Speaker 2 (19:55):
More and more I'm really that excited by them. M Yeah.
Learn more about the production of this movie made me
feel both better and more ambivalent. But the thing that
I was yelling at my boyfriend on the phone about
when I was taking the bus back at like one
in the morning, after saying, this damn movie, Oh god, look,
I'm committed to seeing this movie for some reason. But

(20:19):
my favorite, Your Girl's Anathemist movie is probably the most
accessible of his the favorite. I really loved the favorite
and it's like the movie of his centers women that
tracks for me. I think the reason that may be
is because it is We talked about this when we
covered The Favorite. It's based on a story written by
a woman, Deborah Davis, and she adapted it with Tony McNamara.

(20:44):
This movie is based on source material by a man
and adapted by just Tony McNamara, which I think was
a mistake.

Speaker 3 (20:53):
Yeah, yeah, no, Like, when I think about the gaze
of those two movies, it really manifests so clearly in
the film itself, because I feel like The Favorite is
a movie about women from at least somewhat of a
female gaze, and this movie feels like a movie about

(21:15):
a woman from a male gaze, with the female gaze
like trying so fucking hard to bust out, you know.

Speaker 2 (21:23):
Yeah, it's weird. Yeah, it's weird. I'm excited to talk
about it, But first we should talk about what happens
in the movie.

Speaker 1 (21:30):
After this break, yes, and we're back. I'll place a
content warning here at the top. Four.

Speaker 2 (21:46):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (21:46):
Everything, there's suicide, there's sexual and domestic abuse that will
get brought up either in the recap and or the discussion.
There's a lot of stuff going on in this movie. Okay,
we are in Victorian era London. We see a woman
from behind who jumps off a bridge, presumably to die

(22:09):
by suicide. Then we meet Bella Baxter played by Emma
Stone google Goga. But then I'm also like, okay, Bella, Bello.

Speaker 2 (22:19):
Bello minions exact exactly. We're back way back.

Speaker 1 (22:24):
So Bella Baxter is acting like a baby. She's speaking
in gibberish, she's walking around erradically. She doesn't have motor skills.
She spits out her food, she pisses herself, et cetera.
Her caretaker slash father figure is doctor Godwin Baxter played
by Willem Dafoe, also called God. He is a surgeon

(22:50):
and professor at a medical school. He's like this kind
of doctor Frankenstein type of doctor where he seems to
have Frankenstein very animals together. There's like a dog's head
on a chicken body. There's a duck head on a
goat's body. Things like that. God asks one of his students,

(23:10):
Max mccandle's played by Ramy Yusuf, to assist him with
monitoring Bella's progress. God explains to Max that she had
suffered a brain injury and her mental age and physical
body are not synchronized, and that's why she's acting like
a baby. But she's progressing very rapidly, and Max is

(23:33):
enthusiastic about this project. He also thinks that Bella is
very pretty.

Speaker 2 (23:38):
Yeah, I think even before Max is like I'm interested
in this project, he's like, Wow, she's hot and like
this is gonna go well.

Speaker 1 (23:44):
Like, and then we see her progressing where her speech
and motor skills improve, but she's still acting very childlike
for a while. Bella asks God who she is, where
her parents are. He's like, oh, you're an orphan, and
we just generally see her be inquisitive and curious about

(24:04):
the world. She asks Max to teach her about different
places on the world map. She's never been outside and
she wants to go out and explore, so God reluctantly
takes her to the woods, but she wants to be
where the people are, and she starts acting out. She
wants to go into town and stuff, and he's like, no,

(24:26):
that's not possible, so he chloroforms her and Max is like,
what the fuck is going on? And Doctor God reveals
the truth that Bella had died. She was the woman
we saw jumping off the bridge at the beginning, and
she was also very gregnant at the time. Yes, heavy

(24:46):
with Greg, very heavy with Greg. So God took the
brain from the baby and surgically put it into Bella's
head and then reanimated her, which is why she's been
acting so baby like.

Speaker 2 (25:00):
Now I have a quick question, and it is disgusting.
Uh huh, but they go out of their way to
be like a living baby, as you're like, So he
did canonically, instead of raising the baby, kill the baby
to steal its brain, right, Yeah, I think so.

Speaker 3 (25:18):
Yeah, Okay, So I'm now remembering that I actually hated
like the first fifteen minutes of the movie, the whole
first black and white bit. I was just like, here
we fucking go. And I had a negative reaction to
it in part because of my own conditioning. I am
the daughter of research scientists, like laboratory scientists, and I

(25:39):
grew up with a certain amount of disdain in the
household for the trope of the evil unethical scientist, because
my parents felt like it soiled the already sort of
fragile reputation of scientists in this culture, Like it's not
cool to be a scientist. It's not cool to be
smarter than everyone else else because that's suspicious, you know.

(26:02):
So like this trope of a scientist using his powers
for evil, it's just like not something that we actually
see in real life. And so when I was noticing
that in the beginning of the film, I was just like,
this is corny, this is damaging, this is cheap, and

(26:22):
it's in black and white. I thought there were colors
in this movie.

Speaker 2 (26:26):
Wow, that is really interesting. Like that's something I'm aware of,
that sort of stock character and like to I don't know,
encourage like incuriosity and.

Speaker 3 (26:36):
Yeah, like being smart as evil and like knowing things
that other people don't know, yeah, or don't want to know,
is evil. Like I actually do bump up against that
fair in large part because I was brought up to
but like, yeah, I didn't like that.

Speaker 1 (26:50):
Well, I'll just point out that Bella Baxter is not
unlike Adam Frankenstein of I frankens Stein fame.

Speaker 2 (27:00):
Our favorite bad movie. Yeah, it's true. Well, she can't
do nun Chuck's like Adam Frankenstein, which is actually my
biggest criticism of the movie. Exactly, there's no nun Chuck Sequins.
Where's the war of Demon's versus Gargoyles? I was sort
of waiting for that to start.

Speaker 1 (27:19):
Shame.

Speaker 2 (27:20):
I don't know. Ultimately I would would I rather watch
Ey Frankenstein than Four Things? Probably not, but like I
don't know. When friends are over, I'm turning on I
Frankenstein every time, absolutely, and that's misogynist of me.

Speaker 3 (27:34):
Have either of you seen the film Franken Hooker?

Speaker 2 (27:38):
No, No, what's that?

Speaker 3 (27:39):
That's a really good, bad movie. That movie came out
and I want to.

Speaker 2 (27:42):
Say ninety one perfect.

Speaker 3 (27:45):
And I think you both would like it. It's really it's
so bad. It's good for sure, but it's about this
aspiring mad scientist whose girlfriend is tragically killed in a
lawnmower accident. So he goes yes, and he blows up
a bunch of sex workers and uses their parts to

(28:07):
assemble a new girlfriend. Holy shit, Okay, it's really camp.
It's really wacky. It's a pleasure to watch, and it's
like a tight ninety.

Speaker 1 (28:18):
Oh wow, oh love that.

Speaker 2 (28:20):
I'm looking at the just the poster. I'm like, yeah,
I would watch this. I would watch.

Speaker 3 (28:25):
Okay, yeah, and the Franken Hunker in the film. It
has some things in common with Mella Maxter now that
I think about.

Speaker 1 (28:31):
It, Okay, I'll watch it.

Speaker 2 (28:34):
Yeah, Bella Baxter is a part of a long legacy
of Frankenstein's.

Speaker 3 (28:37):
Fucked up experiments.

Speaker 2 (28:38):
Yeah, yeah, oh this is so I'm excited to talk
about the science angle of it. I haven't seen that
written about it all. All right, sorry, I'm true. Continue.

Speaker 1 (28:46):
Okay, So we left off where God reveals to Max
what he actually did with Bella as far as like
surgically putting the baby brain into her adult body, and
Bella has no idea about any of that, and when
she wakes up after being chloroformed, she discovers masturbation and

(29:07):
she starts doing it all the time. But other characters
have to be like, no, in polite society, we do
not do that. And then God is like, hey, Max,
you should marry Bella, and He's like, yeah, great idea.

Speaker 2 (29:22):
I love my baby girlfriend Gaga, and I'm the nice guy.

Speaker 1 (29:28):
Somehow, and I'm actually nice.

Speaker 2 (29:30):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (29:30):
So Max asks Bella to marry him, but God has
some conditions, mainly that Max and Bella live at God's
house and always like be under his supervision, which would
essentially make Bella a prisoner, which she already is, and
then God hires a lawyer to write up a legal

(29:51):
agreement to this effect. The lawyer is Duncan Wedderburn played
by Mark Ruffalo, who immediately takes a liking to Bella
and he's very horny and he wants to free Bella
from this imprisonment, so he invites her to accompany him
to Lisbon, and she recognizes that Duncan is pretty sleazy,

(30:14):
but she wants to go and explore the world and
explore her blossoming sexuality. God is not happy about this,
nor is Max, but Bella goes on this trip nonetheless,
So she and Duncan arrive in Lisbon. He introduces her
to new food and sights and experiences, and they have

(30:35):
a lot of sexy.

Speaker 2 (30:37):
She goes full hedonist in Lisbon, Yes, which is fun.
I feel like there's a lot made of the emphasis
on sex that this movie has. But she is truly
like pleasure chasing in every conceivable way, Like she's pleasure
chasing with clothes, with her body, with food, with everything,

(30:58):
and then eventually with books.

Speaker 3 (30:59):
And thank god we're in color by now.

Speaker 1 (31:01):
Yes, we're finally in color. It's true, so you know
they're traveling together, but they're soon getting on each other's nerves.
Duncan is annoyed by Bella's behavior and that it doesn't
line up with polite society, and he's annoyed that he
can't seem to like control her. He's getting jealous. Meanwhile,

(31:21):
Bella just wants to be able to go off and
explore and have adventures, and he's like trying to prevent
her from doing that. At some point in the trip,
a woman comes up to Bella being like, Victoria Blessington,
I haven't seen you in years, and Bella is like,
I don't know what you're talking about. I'm Bella Baxter,
which is gonna pay off later. Then Duncan, who is

(31:45):
becoming more and more possessive, abducts Bella by putting her
in a trunk and bringing her on a boat.

Speaker 2 (31:53):
The only thing you can say for that is he
does ultimately admit that he did it, which is more
than most men who kidnap women in movies.

Speaker 1 (31:59):
You do, that is true?

Speaker 2 (32:02):
Yeah, how's that for a yard stick? Do we like
that yard stick? Oh?

Speaker 1 (32:07):
The bar is so low. So she is understandably upset
by being abducted, but she makes the best of it,
I guess, and she makes a couple of friends on
the ship, Martha and Harry, which Duncan doesn't like, and
he's basically like Bella, you have to marry me or
I'll throw you overboard. And also Duncan doesn't like that

(32:30):
Bella is less interested in having sex with him, and
she has taken more of an interest in reading and
learning about different philosophies and expanding her mind. She's uncertain
how to view the world and the people in it.
She's talking to Harry about it and Martha, but Harry
is a cynic. He keeps saying that life and people

(32:51):
are cruel, and Bella doesn't want to believe it. But
when the ship docks in Alexandria, Harry shows her people
who who are living in poverty and who are suffering
and starving, and she's devastated and she feels compelled to
help them, so she takes all of Duncan's winnings from

(33:11):
him gambling at the casino and the ship, and she
tries to give them to the poor, but she unknowingly
gets swindled by a couple of sailors who take the money.

Speaker 2 (33:23):
Whoops, the Cynic. Okay, the Cynic is my least favorite character,
and I love Girod Carmichael. Yeah, oh yeah, the Cynic
cracks me up because it feels like this is like
a pretty solid adaptation just from like translating from book
to movie. But the Cynic feels like such a booky
character that you're just like, oh my god, like, do

(33:45):
we have to call him the Cynic? Because it just
feels very no offense cal It feels very grad school
to have a character name the Sinnel.

Speaker 1 (33:53):
Oh yeah, no, no offense taken. But thank you for mentioning.
You basically mentioned my master's degree in screenwriting.

Speaker 2 (34:00):
I know you don't like to bring it out, but
I like to bring out that you And maybe I'm
just resentful because it's kind of beyond me what's going
on with the senec Yeah.

Speaker 1 (34:10):
Sorry, you don't have a master's so you wouldn't really
get it.

Speaker 3 (34:14):
I also famously do not have a master's degree, despite
the number of blazers I wear.

Speaker 1 (34:21):
No But anyway, so either way, Duncan is furious that
Bella took his money and now they have no money,
and they wind up in Paris, and Bella tries to
procure a hotel room for them, and she approaches a
woman outside a hotel which turns out to be a brothel,
and the woman, Madam Swiney, played by Catherine Hunter, offers

(34:44):
Bella work.

Speaker 2 (34:45):
I didn't realize at first until my second viewing that
Catherine Hunter plays the witches in the new Cohen Brothers Macbeth.

Speaker 1 (34:54):
Oh, I didn't see that one.

Speaker 2 (34:55):
It's really good. Yes, it's Denzel Washington Macbeth, and she
plays all three witches. And I only recognize her voice
because she is like shape shifting, like no one's business
in that. But would recommend she's so good it's wild.

Speaker 1 (35:10):
Mm hmm. Yeah, I like her character a lot in
this way.

Speaker 2 (35:13):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (35:14):
Anyway, she offers Bella work, and so Bella has sex
with a man for money, and this makes Duncan furious
and he leaves to go back to London. Bella continues
doing sex work. She's repulsed by most of her clients,
but she also tries to make the best of that situation.
She befriends another woman at the brothel, Twinette. They eventually

(35:39):
develop a sexual slash romantic relationship.

Speaker 2 (35:43):
I think it's important representation that she starts having sex
with the person who introduced her to socialism. I felt
seen by that.

Speaker 1 (35:52):
I like that a lot you could resist. Also, Twinette
is played by Susie Bemba. One day, Bella here yelling
outside the brothel and it's Duncan, who never left, and
he's there to quote unquote save her.

Speaker 2 (36:07):
He's literally a street car name desiring, which I foolishly
did not pick up until my third viewing, which is
brave of me to admit. But he's at the bottom
going balla.

Speaker 1 (36:18):
Right because instead of saying Stella, he's saying Bella.

Speaker 2 (36:22):
Wow. So for everyone else listening with three brain cells,
that was a reference.

Speaker 3 (36:27):
Oh yeah, that was the movie. Poor I missed that one.

Speaker 2 (36:30):
Yeah, that was yeah. I'm happy to blame it on
my previous movie, Porus. But in the third one, I
was like, oh, okay, okay, you're got seen another movie.

Speaker 3 (36:41):
Chris has watched a movie other than his own. Whoaee.

Speaker 1 (36:45):
So Duncan like wants to save her from this life
that she's living, and she's like, go home, you lose her.
We also are periodically cutting back to God and Max
in London and they are back on their bullshit because
they have made a new baby lady and named her Felicity,

(37:06):
played by Margaret Qualleyno.

Speaker 3 (37:08):
They're raven haired hotty.

Speaker 2 (37:09):
Mm hmm, it's true. It's true. All the greats they
got the gen Z raven haired Hotti.

Speaker 3 (37:14):
Is she properly gen Z?

Speaker 2 (37:16):
I don't know. I feel like she's gen Z marketed.

Speaker 3 (37:18):
She's cuspy.

Speaker 2 (37:19):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (37:20):
I just found out that she's Andy McDonald's daughter because
I went to go see you drive Away Dolls, and
I was like, Oh.

Speaker 3 (37:25):
The fact that they masked that well enough for you
to miss it reflects well on the like anti NEPO
baby sort of like pr campaign.

Speaker 2 (37:33):
It is interesting that it's like NEPO baby Praxis that
appears to take the last name of the less famous parent.
Oh yeah, that's why I'm like, there are NEPO babies
where you're like, you know what, good for Jack Quaid,
although Dennis Quaid is somehow his less famous parent.

Speaker 3 (37:50):
Wait, who's his mom?

Speaker 2 (37:52):
Meg Ryan? Oh shit, but then his name would be
Jack Ryan and that would suck.

Speaker 3 (37:58):
Yeah, you know, not to get too far away from
the topic at hand, but I actually was in class
my freshman year of college with Jack Quaid in an
essay writing class.

Speaker 1 (38:08):
I'm not God.

Speaker 3 (38:09):
Yeah, yeah, we were paired once. Wow, I didn't know
who the fuck he was. I had no idea. It's
probably because his last name wasn't Ryan.

Speaker 2 (38:16):
Now that I'm thinking about it, Jack Ryan would actually
like fly You under the Radar a little better. But
either way, Yeah, if you're a Nepa, you gotta have
the obvious last name.

Speaker 3 (38:25):
You have to.

Speaker 2 (38:26):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (38:28):
Anyway, So God and Max make Felicity, presumably because they
were trying to fill some void when Bella left. Also,
we learn that God is dying and Bella receives a
letter about this, so she returns to London, and Bella
has noticed a C section scar, and so she asks

(38:50):
God about it, and he finally tells her that technically
she is her baby. She is both her own mother
and her own daughter. And she's like, what the fuck?

Speaker 2 (39:02):
I hate that? That's like her the.

Speaker 3 (39:04):
Talk I know, right, that's the birds and the bees Formellobaxer.

Speaker 2 (39:08):
She figures out the birds and the bees on her
own like many of us, right.

Speaker 3 (39:12):
I also like that, like I am my own baby.
Completely sounds like the name of a TLC special.

Speaker 2 (39:18):
I would watch totally or just like a true life episode,
Like there's so many delicious, exploitative meeting.

Speaker 3 (39:29):
I definitely watched a TLC special called I Am My
Own Twin, which brings me to another point that I
wanted to make, which is like, despite disdaining the evil
scientist trope, I love any scene that takes place in
an operating theater.

Speaker 2 (39:45):
Oh yeah, yes, I remember. I first learned of the
operating theater from a series of unfortunate events nice and
I was like, now they were onto something there. It's fun.
It's a perfect set piece.

Speaker 3 (39:58):
So spooky and cinema.

Speaker 2 (40:00):
I like that Bella thrives in the operating theater. How scary.

Speaker 1 (40:04):
I love it. Yeah, because it's right around this point
of the movie where she says that she plans to
become a doctor, following in her daddy God's footsteps. Anyway,
so she confronts God ann Max about lying to her
and trapping her, and to God for creating her in
the first place, and they're all like whoopsies. But then

(40:27):
Bello goes forward with marrying Max, and during the wedding,
a man comes in and interrupts to be like Bello Victoria.
This man is her husband in her former life. His
name is General Alfred Blessington, and Duncan had helped the

(40:48):
General find Bella because Duncan is very bitter and he
thinks that Bella is a succubist from Hell and stuff
like that.

Speaker 2 (40:55):
Now, if you think you've met Patriarchy, the guy in
this movie, you haven't, You haven't yet.

Speaker 1 (41:01):
He shows up at the very end, but Bella is
intrigued by the General and wants to go with him,
so she returns to his estate, only to discover that
the General is horribly abusive and cruel, and apparently so
was she in her former life, and he wants to

(41:24):
hold her prisoner, and he threatens to shoot her if
she tries to leave, and he intends to have a
doctor remove her glitteris that night, so she fights back.
She manages to chloroform the General and shoot him in
the foot, and then Bella has Max perform surgery on

(41:45):
the General and it is revealed that the brain of
a goat was put into the General's head, and so
that's like the big cathartic end of this movie. Also,
God dies Antoinette comes to live with Bella and Max.

Speaker 2 (42:01):
It's a very clean and good for her ending to
the movie that deviates significantly from the book.

Speaker 1 (42:08):
Right, So that's the story, and let's take a quick
break and we'll come back to discuss. And we are back,
and where shall we start on this movie that will

(42:30):
break my brain? And there's so much to talk about.

Speaker 2 (42:34):
Just a fun fact really quick. So Tony McNamara, he
also collaborated with mister Yorgos on The Favorite, but his
credit before this was a different Emma Stone vehicle. He
also wrote the screenplay to Cruella, so he also kind
of is now a specialist and good for her style.
Emma Stone movies of varying quality. So that's just a

(42:58):
fact about Tony. I don't know. Should we start with
talking about the source material a little bit?

Speaker 3 (43:03):
Yeah, yeah, please educate me because I did not deep
dive into the source material and I'm so curious to know.

Speaker 2 (43:09):
That's what we're here, fool. So yeah, this is based
on a nineteen ninety two novel by Alistair Gray.

Speaker 3 (43:17):
Okay, ninety two birth year.

Speaker 2 (43:19):
Yes, you're the monkey, solidareity?

Speaker 1 (43:21):
Okay, young people.

Speaker 2 (43:25):
Yes the youth.

Speaker 3 (43:26):
I am my own baby Google.

Speaker 2 (43:30):
Ultimately, we are all babies at the end of the day.
We're all baby. Honestly, I bravely had no idea who
Alistair Gray was. Turns out he's very famous. He is
a Scottish or was a Scottish writer. Who is I
don't know, a postmodern writer. That could mean anything. He
wrote weird speculative novels. He also did a lot of painting.

(43:52):
He was also a visual artist, very well loved, and
also in a way that the movie sort of skilled
back a little bit. Was also famously a socialist and
put socialist themes and ideas in basically all of his work.
So that's sort of the overarching what you need to
know about him. He passed away in twenty nineteen, but

(44:13):
met Yurgoslanthemo's and like had his blessing to make this movie.
I don't think he ended up seeing the script before
he passed, but I do always kind of like that
when it's possible to happen, when there is like a
nice two writers usually men hanging out love that, so

(44:36):
you know yourgo's got the blessing and when ahead to
make the movie. The main difference is in Kitlyn. Please
let me know if I missed anything. Ooh, okay, yeah,
I have the book on my Libby app. Wow, for
all you libby heads out there, I have it, but
I have not read it yet.

Speaker 1 (44:52):
Well, that's because we don't read books on this podcast famously.

Speaker 2 (44:56):
I know, but then I'm trying. I'm trying.

Speaker 1 (45:00):
You're trying to read books, Jamie, what the heck?

Speaker 2 (45:02):
And even though people seem to like, the general consensus
is this movie is good, but also general consensus is
the book is better. Differences between the book and the
movie include that all of the book takes place in
Scotland and Glasgow specifically, this has changed to London. I

(45:22):
don't really know why. The book is far more overtly socialist,
which I kind of alluded to. I'm pulling from a
piece from Polygon that sort of breaks this down. That
Bella which we see it in the movie. We see
Bella's political awakening when she goes to Alexandria and basically
just witnesses capitalism. I don't like the visual choices made here.

(45:47):
I think it really leans into some like savage tropes
that like really don't sit well with me. Agreed. In
the book, Bella talks to people and that scene is
far longer. Is it better? I don't know I haven't
read it, but you know, what is basically reduced to
a shot for the movie is a whole sequence in

(46:08):
the book, and so it is clearer. Even though I
think it is clear in the movie that like Bella's
political awakening becomes increasingly important as the movie goes on,
it's far more explicit and specific in the book, and
that sequence in Alexandria is far longer. Lanthamus gave an
interview to Polygon and was asked about this and said

(46:32):
the following quote, I didn't find that it could be
as much a part of the film we were making,
which is following her story, that story about a woman,
which is a much more universal thing than political awakening.
I disagree, but anyways, he says, the book is also
a huge essay about a lot of political things, and
especially about Scotland and its relationship with the rest of

(46:52):
the world, and so yes, that aspect couldn't be an
equal part in the film, which does make more sense
to me. I don't know. I feel like every Russian
novel includes three hundred pages about like agrarian law of
that decade, and you're like, yeah, I don't want to
see that. In any case, the final large change is
the ending, which instead of the kind of the ending

(47:16):
to this movie is so weird to me where it's like,
I'm not upset that she, you know, fox over her
former husband great, but this whole very complex, weird movie
coming down to like a wine glass clink like dun Dunn.
Like I didn't really love it. Yeah, it just felt
like very neat and it's because it's not the end.

Speaker 3 (47:39):
Yeah. No, it was very much like a nineties rom
com based on a Shakespearean play kind of ending.

Speaker 2 (47:44):
It felt like fried green Tomatoes, Like it just felt
like from a different movie. I don't know. I'm just
gonna read directly from this polygon piece here and I
want to shut out. It is written by Oly Welsh.
We'll link to it in the description of the episode
through its extended code and framing devices. The book presents
a much more ambivalent account of the rest of Bella's life.

(48:06):
She and Archibald I guess he's not Max mccandle's put
their medical skills to better use in the book, serving
the people of Glasgow with a women's clinic and a
public health initiative, but mccandal's is ineffectual and Bella's socialist
ideals are eventually thwarted by political reality. She's last seen
as an eccentric old woman whose only patients are dogs.

(48:26):
It's a much sadder but arguably a less bitter one.
So yeah, very very different ending, which I kind of think.
I prefer the book to the kind of prescriptive movie ending.
So that's adaptation stuff.

Speaker 1 (48:44):
Yes, I have a couple additional things. I also saw
the polygon piece. These are a few examples of differences
between the book and the movie from a people dot
Com piece.

Speaker 3 (48:57):
Wow, yeah, watch out.

Speaker 2 (49:00):
That's the grad school bump.

Speaker 3 (49:02):
Okay, masters great, exactly know.

Speaker 1 (49:05):
I only find the best sources, so this one is
called poor things. The biggest differences between the book and
the Emma Stone movie iconic Wow, Okay, such things as
the wedding plays out a little differently. The novel includes
a variety of characters who don't make it into the movies,

(49:25):
such as an American professor named doctor Hooker. I don't
know exactly where Bella meets him on her travels, but
there's this American professor guy. We also meet her father,
or rather like Victoria Blessington's father. I think he shows
up in the wedding scene, stuff like that. The movie
eliminates those characters, but it adds the character of Felicity,

(49:50):
the woman who god in Max like Frankenstein together while
Bella is traveling. So there are those examples, and then
the novel is structured in such a way where it's
like letters the memoir from the Max character, right from
the Max character. Yeah, and he's like talking about his

(50:11):
friendship with the scientist Godwin Baxter and his creation Bella.
So it's like more from his point of view, whereas
the movie largely focuses on Bella and her point of
view and her view of the world and things like.

Speaker 2 (50:26):
That works for me, right. I also feel like historically,
like unreliable narrator novels are not usually well adapted. I'm like, yeah,
just give us a streamlined version.

Speaker 1 (50:36):
Yes, yes, indeed.

Speaker 2 (50:38):
So yeah, that's the book versus the movie. So let's
get into the movie, Amanda. Is there anything that stands
out to you that you want to get into right away?

Speaker 3 (50:48):
Oh gosh, I mean, like, something that I thought was
very unique about this movie, and that was just like
candy for me personally, was the evolution of Bella's language skills.
And her idiolect, as it's called, her very unique and

(51:11):
personal way of speaking. I don't think I'd ever seen
like a real time representation of someone's like totally wacky
mastery of the English language, from googo gaga to you know,
like multi polysyllabic words. But I was like thoroughly entertained

(51:36):
by the way that she spoke. And I think, Caitlin
you mentioned that being a highlight for you as well,
because I could just really relate as an extremely like
verbose lover of ten dollars words for no actual reason.
I loved how quickly she went from actual goo goo

(51:59):
gaga bella hungry too. I mean, I don't have like
one of her lines memorized and at the ready, but.

Speaker 2 (52:07):
But she's like quoting like political theory.

Speaker 1 (52:10):
It has a master's degree basically, she does. Yeah, she
has a PhD.

Speaker 3 (52:15):
Even, But the way that she talks is like so
authentic to her, like it's so bananas. No one talks
like that. No one that she meets talks like that,
you know, like nobody in her world talks like that.
And I thought that and her style were like true
individuality to me, and I really I felt very seen

(52:39):
by it because like, I feel like I talk funny.
My word choices are funny. That's pointed out to me
from time to time. So I felt like the representation
for like girlies who talk funny, it was like really appreciated.

Speaker 2 (52:53):
Even though I said earlier that I was like frustrated
by the comparisons between Four Things and Barbie, I did
enjoy it. Someone like was like poor Things is sort
of like if weird. Barbie had her whole movie that
happened in the Victorian era, and I was like, yeah,
I kind of see it. I mean, Emma Stone won

(53:15):
the Best Actress Oscar yesterday at the time we were
recording this, and it is like an incredible performance, Like
she's she like really goes for it. Her performance is
so good, and I like that they give her the
space to kind of cook.

Speaker 1 (53:31):
And I mean, not to be bitchy, but Lily Gladstone
should have won.

Speaker 2 (53:35):
But I mean sure, I mean no, I mean I
think everyone agrees that, remember.

Speaker 1 (53:39):
But I know what you're saying, like she gives an
excellent performance.

Speaker 2 (53:42):
I think they're both incredible performances and very different performances.
And for sure, the oscars are racist and it's not
a meritocracy. Yeah yeah, yeah, but it's a great performance
for Mamma Stone. I like that. I mean, I'm glad
to hear that you like as someone with a background
in linguistics, like that you you like it.

Speaker 3 (54:01):
I loved it.

Speaker 2 (54:02):
It's cool and it does still feel like particular to
that character. One of the things that I liked about
the movie because I do feel like the criticisms around
the emphasis and some people have like said over emphasis
on sex with men as a way of understanding yourself,

(54:22):
Like I understand why those are. I feel like that
has a lot more to do with the visual choices
in the movie than the story itself because for me,
at a story level, like she is growing constantly at
a rate that makes sense, and so much of the
story or like where we end up is influenced by

(54:43):
like like you do when you're coming of age, where
you're like trying to understand your body. You're trying to understand,
like what are the rules? I think, like the big
thing we come up against is that the thing that
is gross and unavoidable in this story is that she
has a baby brain and a grown woman's body, which

(55:04):
comes up against a version of a trope we've discussed
a million times, like the Born Sexy Yesterday, which is
been around forever. But I do think that Bella is
an interesting variant of this trope because I feel like
a lot of the baby lady tropes that we get
are still somehow intuiting, the make yourself smaller rules and

(55:31):
defer to men rules that exist within society that takes
years of conditioning to sort of soak in for a
lot of people. But Bella is fully a blank canvas
and like if a social norm doesn't make sense to
where she says it and does not abide by it,
and I feel like that is far rarer and it

(55:52):
almost like like challenged how I understood that stock character
because you're like, it's not a baby lady really, because
babies say what's on their mind, and those characters very
rarely say what's on their mind, or if they do,
it is like in a very particular way that is
still deferential to the man that is teaching them what
the world is. So I do feel like she is

(56:15):
different in that way.

Speaker 1 (56:17):
Yes, your cat has arrived into the chat.

Speaker 2 (56:20):
Casper's in the mix. He's got thoughts.

Speaker 3 (56:23):
Oh my god, he's so huge.

Speaker 2 (56:26):
Talk about a little baby with big ideas. Oh he
just fell. Oh he's good, he's good. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (56:32):
I agree that the because the first time I saw
this movie and you see her with her baby brain
and her adult body and she's having sex with adult
men with adult brains, and I was so grossed out
by it.

Speaker 2 (56:46):
It's gross.

Speaker 1 (56:47):
And then I started to realize that, Okay, it seems
like the director is making some intentional commentary that seems
to suggest that, like, men are so preoccupied with their
own sexual desire that they don't eat noticed that the
woman they're physically attracted to has the mind of a
small child, or if they do notice, they don't seem

(57:07):
to care. And so I was like, Okay, that seems
to be what your gross is getting out.

Speaker 2 (57:11):
Including the guys that were like theoretically rooting for like
that's yeah. I think like Max is a tricky character
for me in that regard, because I feel like the movie,
in the way that it ends ends up being like
Max is a pretty good guy. Yeah, sure, he made
some choices that weren't the best, and he justifies it
usually by being like, you know how charismatic Willem Dafoe is.

(57:32):
I'm like, that doesn't mean that you should have sex
with a baby, marry a baby. You can't just be like, well,
you know, he's just like when you're in his orbit,
it's hard to not marry a baby. And you're like,
I just don't believe that's true. I am always sort
of responsive to like even the quote unquote good guy
that you're told is the good guy is still you know,

(57:53):
adhering to this fucked up logic.

Speaker 3 (57:56):
Yeah, I think he is very much to make a
Sex in the City reference the Burger, the Jack Berger
in the equation, you know, like maybe the evil general
that's maybe you know, that's mister big a little bit,
and who is Mark Ruffalo and the Sex in the
City universe, you know, maybe God. Fortunately I don't think

(58:20):
she fucks anyone like that, but good for her, I think.
But yes, obviously there is something sinister that I don't
know if the movie itself recognizes about treating that character
as a good guy in the end. However, my experience
of the movie, and I was fully done with my

(58:41):
movie poor by this time, so my opinion can't entirely
be trusted. I was like, so team Bella Baxter by
the end of the movie that I was just like,
whatever she wants, you know, like, yeah, she was so
smart and badass by that point. I was just like,
they'll probably get to worse later. It's clear that this

(59:02):
movie is just like trying to wrap itself up because
it's twenty minutes too long like most movies. Yeah, and
so like, I'm just gonna kind of gently ignore this
ending slash take it with a grain of salt because
I'm still looking at Emma Stone's outfits and I love
her character period.

Speaker 2 (59:18):
Yeah, I think that the ending just like felt weird. Yeah,
Like by the ending, I wasn't like I wish themooviie
was still happening, but it like just feels funky because
I also am like fully team Bella Baxter, and I
don't know, I guess just like sort of close the
loop on the extensive criticism of this movie's sex scenes.

(59:42):
I don't think that it takes up undue narrative space.
I think that visually it feels like it's obsessed over
more so than any other developmental stage she has. I
think that that's like, yeah, where that controversy comes from.
No matter where you land on it, you can't argue

(01:00:02):
that the movie is more visually interested in her mental
awakening than her physical one. It gives a lot of
real estate to her physical awakening.

Speaker 3 (01:00:12):
But doesn't that just make for like a more fun, sexy,
interesting movie.

Speaker 2 (01:00:18):
Yeah, well, I'm not even saying that I don't like that,
but I think that that's like why, because as I
was like watching it, I was like, I do think
that it is like fairly well paced and like where
her priorities are and where her developmental stage is. But
like visually, the like really intense visual scenes are when
she's having sex and not when she's reading a book,

(01:00:39):
because that's technically more interesting to watch. So that's sort
of my theory on that. But I also think that
like that is a perfectly fair criticism to have of
this movie because it is objectively like icky that she's
a baby fucking adult.

Speaker 3 (01:00:55):
Yeah. Yeah, I don't know. But when I think of
like the best sex scenes in the movie, what does
she call it? Vigorous jumping? Furious furious jumping? I mean
that's a great example of like I love the little
constructed phrases that she comes up with. They're so funny
and like visceral. But I don't know, like the sex

(01:01:15):
scenes that I remember the most are I guess ones
where she's maybe in the like slightly post adolescent phase.
She's not literally a baby anymore, so she's like furious jumping.

Speaker 1 (01:01:30):
Right.

Speaker 3 (01:01:31):
It's not great, but I don't know. We're all just
like going on intuition when we're trying to figure out
how creepy any one of these given sex scenes are,
and like, yeah, at a certain point pretty soon into
the movie, actually, once thank god, we transitioned into the colors,
I was like, I am not so creeped out on

(01:01:54):
this anymore. Like I think I really believe that, like
this woman is horny.

Speaker 2 (01:02:00):
Well, I think that that's what helps is like she
does initiate most of the sex in the movie.

Speaker 1 (01:02:08):
So I have two problems with the way like the
exploration of female sexuality is handled. And I think it
has a lot to do with the fact that this
movie is again adapted from a book by a man screenwriter,
man director man. Because the things that it mishandles, and
I'm sure I could come up with more if I
watched the movie again or mauled on it longer. But

(01:02:29):
two things that really bugged me was that the movie
equates sexual curiosity and sexual feelings with being emotionally ready
to have sex with other people, because like children can
feel sexual feelings, they can masturbate, they do masturbate, but
it doesn't mean that they are emotionally mature enough to

(01:02:50):
start having sex. But this story suggests that Bella when
she still has a baby brain, because when she leaves
to go on that trip with Duncan in the early
days that trip, like she still is a child cognitively
and emotionally, but she's like, I'm having sex, I'm ready
to have sex. And it's like that doesn't track with

(01:03:11):
how children actually cognitively and emotionally developed. So I just
it's one thing if she just like masturbates a lot
and she's exploring her sexuality with herself, but I was
just like, why are you equating that with her being
ready to have sex with other people and like adult men.
So that's one thing that really bugged me. And then
the other thing was that the more mature and like

(01:03:35):
intellectually enlightened Bella becomes, the less horny she becomes, which
kind of suggests like, oh, well, smart and educated women
will not be horny, They'll cease to be horny. Because
this is also reinforced by the Martha character, who's like,
I haven't had sex in twenty years, and I never
masturbate hardly. And she's like, I'm more concerned with what's

(01:03:58):
you know, between my ears her brain than what's between
my legs her sex organs.

Speaker 3 (01:04:03):
So but could that be like a menopausal thing?

Speaker 1 (01:04:06):
I mean maybe sure, But also I'm just like smart
women can be so horny.

Speaker 2 (01:04:13):
I was sort of thrown by that shift. It felt
like weirdly conservative. Yeah right, yeah, and what the movie
is say otherwise, And that is before she starts working
as a sex worker, which I think that that is
like this movie's attitude towards sex work is better than
most movies attitudes towards sex work is the only thing

(01:04:37):
I wish And I don't know if this is more
fleshed out in the book, but like I do wish
that we got to know the women who work there better.
It felt like they were very like there at the
last second, and they are it seems like very important
in Bella's developmental growth. That is like where I start
to understand the criticism, even though I don't totally agree

(01:04:58):
with it. That like there's quote unquote too much said
in this movie is like you see a lot of
the sex. You hear that she's going to these meetings,
you hear that she is like doing a B and C.
You hear that she's connecting with the women who work
at the brothel, But you don't really see a lot
of it. You just know that it's happening. But when
it comes to having sex with men, you see, yeah,

(01:05:22):
and you hear about it. So it does feel like
it ends up being like more emphasized by the movie,
even if it's not more important in this story. I
don't know, it's like it is tricky, but I love
that that happens, and I love that, like, I don't know.
I mean, you think about how sex workers are stereotyped
in movies in any number of ways that we've talked

(01:05:44):
about on this show over the years, and for the
most part, that is pretty swiftly avoided in this movie,
where the only shame put onto sex workers in this
movie are by characters we don't like. I mean, Bella
is very frank in her life, even when she's like
not loving her job. She's like, I am my own
means of production. Like she's like very clear about like

(01:06:08):
why she does what she does. She likes it, even
on the days she doesn't. She's not unhappy to be
doing it. It's not made out to be coercive. It's
like it's a job. It's presented as a job, which
I feel like sex work almost never is in movies.
It's always like bogged down by shame. And I love
that about Bella. I love how she like at any

(01:06:28):
turn when someone tries to entrap her or like projects
shame onto her, She's like, that doesn't make sense to me,
so I reject it.

Speaker 3 (01:06:36):
Yeah, you're right that we hear from her lover, her
female lover. I forget the character's name, Twinette. Yeah, Twinette
significantly less than any of the male lovers, which it's
true I didn't love, but in the grand scheme of things,
like what a treat for her to like have that

(01:06:57):
character in her life at all? Yeah, I'm back on
like some of the exchanges we've just had about like
her mental age and how that may or may not
be treated appropriately by these men in her life, and
in this moment blaming your ghosts once again for this
like edge lord fuckery, because like Frankensteining a character that

(01:07:21):
is like provoking us to have this conversation about like
when a woman is old enough to be able to
like give sexual consent by like putting a baby brain
in the body of an adult person. It's just like
it's such fuckery, you know what I mean. It's like,
what a stupid conversation whose like resolution will not be

(01:07:43):
applicable to literally anything else ever, you know, right, It's
like we will spend like the next however long figuring
out how we really feel about this, and then we
won't be able to use that consensus on anything at
all because women, grown women don't have baby brains famously,

(01:08:10):
and babies don't have grown women bodies, like.

Speaker 2 (01:08:14):
Except in the movies where they do. There, it is weird.
I don't know, Like I can see a lot of
different I don't know. This movie does feel unique in
like it seems like a lot of people's takeaway. It
is like very entrenched in personal experience. There's certain things
where like Kily and I agree with you, like that
implying that thinking about sex and discovering your body means

(01:08:37):
that you are ready and able to consent to sex
is like a really really slippery slope that this movie
I think takes several steps back from. It doesn't even
really want you to think about because I don't think
it's like prepared to engage with that question, right. But
also it's like, I don't know, the sex scenes that
are there are centered on her. You do see men,

(01:09:01):
but they're not focused on But I still like, maybe
I'm a fucking prude. And I know, like your Guslanthemus
is like contemporary audiences are prude, and I was like,
maybe you're just European. I don't know, like maybe I
am like an American prude.

Speaker 3 (01:09:18):
I have question as old as time.

Speaker 2 (01:09:20):
Truly, like maybe I'm an American prud like I didn't
need all of it, but like I wasn't outside of this.
I don't know. It's so tricky because it's like in
the criticism, you're describing Caitlin like it is gross in
terms of like do I have an issue a see
a naked actor if they are fully consenting and fine
with it, And Emma Stone was because she is an

(01:09:42):
executive producer in the movie, then yeah, I don't really care.
I just wish that there was if I could have
the exact perfect movie that I wanted. I wouldn't have
minded sacrificing some of those sequences in favor of, like,
even if it's like sex in the context of her
intellectual awakening, because I like how like I mean we

(01:10:03):
were joking about earlier, but like fucking the first person
you meet who has good politics, Like that's cool. Like
I would have liked to see more of that relationship
in her life, because it seemed like for Bellet it
was really important, but for the movie it wasn't really important, right.

Speaker 1 (01:10:20):
I think the movie handles some things well in its
examination of things such as male fragility and how men
perceive and treat women, and other things it doesn't handle
so well, such as its exploration of female sexuality, for example.

Speaker 2 (01:10:39):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:10:40):
So it's almost like maybe a woman should have co written, yeah,
or directed the movie.

Speaker 2 (01:10:47):
I really think that that would have helped a lot
of the problems.

Speaker 3 (01:10:51):
I agree. I think we wouldn't feel such cognitive dissonance
about like enjoying aspects of the movie and cringing aspects
of the movie if simply the female gays were prioritized
on the back end when it obviously wasn't, you.

Speaker 2 (01:11:09):
Know, right, yeah, because it's like I think, like that
the male fragility plot stuff is handled really well, probably
because it's written and adapted by people who have that experience.
Like that, clearly that makes sense. Like I think it
works really well, and like Mark Ruffalo is like really
good in that role of like the more Bella rejects,

(01:11:32):
you know, falling into these like various traps he's presenting,
whether it be being kidnapped, her on a boat, getting
married like whatever Victorian trap he's trying to get her in.
The more she outsmarts him, the more he becomes a baby.
I like that like sort of parallel when she's maturing,
he's devolving, and like that all works. I think one

(01:11:53):
thing that we haven't done too yet that I want
to talk about because I don't know how to feel
about it. I wasn't thinking about it as much on
my first viewing, but the way that she relates to
God is really interesting to be and I want to
hear your thoughts that Amanda is talking about the sort
of scientist trope where I wasn't honing in on this,

(01:12:14):
I think because I was annoyed with other stuff on
my first viewing. But how there is this cycle of
abuse taking place in this freaky mansion that they live in,
where we see that God is disabled as a result
of abuse he experienced being experimented on by his own father,

(01:12:39):
and he is then perpetuating similar abuses onto people and
animals instead of processing his own pain and anchor and resentment.
Which is really interesting, But like, I feel like the
movie kind of bails on dealing with it like it's

(01:12:59):
not nothing, because Bella does return to say I am
upset with you for deceiving me about the circumstances that
I was born. It's so weird. I feel like everyone
has a more normal version of this conversation with their parents,
where you're like, well, I didn't ask to be born,
but being alive is pretty sick. But I truly didn't
ask to be born, you know, like that whole thing.

(01:13:21):
But she does, like, you know, pretty clearly, say like
I'm angry with you, but like hating your parents for
certain things that are totally fair, but wanting a relationship
with them anyways is a very common experience. I thought
it was like well handled, but I still get I
like can't shake on every viewing that, Like Williem Dafoe's

(01:13:42):
character ends up like getting off too easy like he does.

Speaker 3 (01:13:47):
Yeah, yeah, I gotta say I found that stuff harder
to take than the sort of quessifying sexual dynamics that
we're discussing, because yeah, it's the thing that I've said
where like I don't appreciate this god complex mad scientist trope.

(01:14:11):
I like I literally think it's like not good for
the culture. But uh yeah, like I just don't buy it.
I like, don't buy perpetuating that kind of mad scientist
abuse because you experienced it, like I don't. I don't
buy it as an excuse and I certainly don't buy

(01:14:32):
it as an explanation. So yeah, I think we were
supposed to. We were supposed to say, like, oh, all
this makes sense because of what he's been through and
like he's not as bad as these other motherfuckers, So
like now we're supposed to re embrace him by or
embrace him at all by default. But I couldn't. I

(01:14:53):
couldn't get there.

Speaker 2 (01:14:54):
Yeah, glad that Bello was able to forgive him, but
like I personally was not. Like that didn't work for me,
and I feel like going into this last few with
that on my mind, it made me dislike the ending
even more because the Bella of the book breaks that
cycle of abuse and uses what she's learned in medicine

(01:15:16):
to help people, which ties into her socialist awakening of
like take what you have and distribute it to other people.
But the Bella of the movie does what her father
did and continues this cycle of abuse, and you know,
is her target far better chosen?

Speaker 3 (01:15:34):
Like yeah, like she's like Dexter.

Speaker 2 (01:15:37):
That guy is the most evil guy in the world,
so she's not a villain. But I just felt like
she was participating in the cycle of abuse in a
way that the movie was like, this is awesome. It
just felt like a little overly simplistic, And once I
found out how the book ended, I was like, yeah,
that does seem more in line with like what she's

(01:15:58):
been building towards in her development. It almost feels like
a step backwards to do exactly what her father was doing,
because she spent all this time finding out who she
was and wanting to be different.

Speaker 1 (01:16:11):
Yeah, I mean, do I find it cathartic to see
the general bleeding like a goat Hell? Yeah, yeah I do.
But also it's like you could have just let him
bleed out from his wound and die like it's so
much extra effort to perform surgery on them.

Speaker 2 (01:16:29):
Turn him into your chihuah Yeah.

Speaker 3 (01:16:31):
Right, you know, sometimes death is too kind.

Speaker 2 (01:16:33):
It's true. My mom says that all the time.

Speaker 1 (01:16:39):
Some people deserve a freakier fate.

Speaker 2 (01:16:43):
Life sentence of being a goat. Honestly, it sounds better
in this Dan and Age.

Speaker 3 (01:16:50):
I'm like, someone go me. Honestly, I want to walk
around and bleed, eat grass and just not worry about shit.

Speaker 1 (01:16:57):
I know, but I think that speaks to the strength
of this movie, or one of the stronger aspects of it,
which is the examination of the way and I'm speaking
generally here, you know, hashtag not all men, but the
way that like men tend to perceive women, the way
men tend to deceive women, what men tend to value

(01:17:20):
in women, how men want to control women physically and
or behaviorally, how men resent women having free will and
minds of their own, and sexual autonomy and sexual desire,
all that kind of stuff. Because we see that displayed
in one way or another in each of these men.
Where like with God, it's like an extreme example of

(01:17:43):
a man like taking away slash manipulating the autonomy of
a woman as far as like bringing her back from
the dead and then putting her own baby's brain in
her body and then not telling her he did any
of that until the end of the movie. You've got
as we've discussed a little bit already, like knowing pretty
early on that she has the mind of a child

(01:18:08):
and also doesn't tell her that and falls in love
with her despite you know, knowing that she is a baby.

Speaker 2 (01:18:15):
Right then You've.

Speaker 1 (01:18:16):
Got Duncan, which is a whole Schmorgas board of stuff
where like the first time he meets her, he assaults her,
he grows increasingly jealous, and he's trying to control her,
constantly control her behavior. He resents that she has sexual
desire outside of him, all this stuff, and then he's

(01:18:39):
like driven to the brink of madness because of his
resentment toward her.

Speaker 2 (01:18:45):
All of this is like there is a really like
wide gradient of like types of fragile men available in
this movie, and I feel like they're all you know,
they're like over the top because it's a fantasy movie,
but it feels distinctive, feels like rerack disable oh, sure enough.
I just wish that you got like more of a
gradiot outside of Bella with women, Like, there's just not

(01:19:09):
as much not that I necessarily have confidence in this
specific team to like show a wider gradient of women,
but I did like the sort of running theme of
like Bella is a person when it behooves a guy,
and then she's property when it behooves them too, where

(01:19:29):
she like has to shout at the captain at the
end like I am not She doesn't say property. What
does she say territory? I am not territory. Yeah, Like
she has to remind different men in different ways that
she is a person, and I feel like that plays

(01:19:49):
really well. And anytime she reminds someone she's a person,
generally something bad happens to her, which is I mean
even more typical of that time, but still obviously happens, right.
I thought, Yeah, this movie does really well with showing
like all of the different ways that male possessiveness and
insecurity can manifest. But there's just really the one woman,

(01:20:13):
which is like the problem of so many movies.

Speaker 1 (01:20:16):
It's so weird, I know, because you do have these
different relationships that she forms over the course of the movie.
You know, Martha is like teaching Bella to enrich her
mind and that there's more to life than satiating our
most carnal desires, which is like, I guess true, but

(01:20:38):
like you can also be horny and read about philosophy, Martha.
There's Twinette who becomes Bella's ally and then later lover,
and she like helps Bella learn about socialism and stuff
like that, but we kind of learn next to nothing
else about Twinette. And I do appreciate representation on screen

(01:21:02):
of like, you know, a queer sex scene, but I'm like,
who is this person again? Like can we learn more
about Twinette? And then Madam Swiney. There's a number of
scenes that are pretty significant between Bella and Madam Swiney,
where you know, she's admiring Bella for wanting to carve
her own path to freedom, and she's like, let me
help you on that journey. But then she's also like,

(01:21:25):
but I need money, and I need you to make
money for me, because that's just how it works.

Speaker 2 (01:21:30):
I think she's interesting for that reason. Yeah, I'll go
to bat for Madam Swiney. I feel like she's like
this weird socialist writer stock character where she's like, yeah,
my politics are great. But you gotta play the game, Bella,
you gotta play the game. And she's like, do I
And then at the end she's like, I do.

Speaker 3 (01:21:51):
A relatable internal battle. We all fight every day.

Speaker 2 (01:21:55):
Yeah, it felt at least like intentionally dissonan, like that
was of why she was there.

Speaker 1 (01:22:01):
Yeah. True. And then there's finally missus prim the like
housekeeper at God's house, and at first she hates Bella
and thinks she's a nuisance, but then at the end
she's like, no, I'm cool with you now that all
these men are dead or goats.

Speaker 3 (01:22:19):
So you know what's weird about these men too, is
that why are they all identical? Like it's insane how
they're shade of black hair is all exactly the same.

Speaker 2 (01:22:30):
Yeah, they're all very similar.

Speaker 3 (01:22:32):
It is fascinating to me that they're all just these
like identical horrible dudes who are like a slightly different flavor.
It's like Rocky Road. And then I don't know, whatever, whatever,
it's a similar flavor to Rocky Road. I don't eat
that much ice cream, I dad, we can't handle it.
I eat cheese though. We went over Then, Yes, I
did think that it was funny that, like, I almost

(01:22:55):
like scramble the male characters because they all look the
same and they're all awful. But I couldn't forget Bella
if I tried.

Speaker 1 (01:23:03):
Yeah, yeah, true, And.

Speaker 3 (01:23:05):
I do think to be optimistic about this whole thing.
The one place where Bella and all these men can
absolutely agree, there is no fighting. Everyone has the same
take on it is her fashion.

Speaker 2 (01:23:20):
True, everyone's like the looks are solid.

Speaker 3 (01:23:24):
Yeah, Like, no one's trying to control what she wears.
They're like she can clearly handle that. She looks great.

Speaker 1 (01:23:30):
And again, the movie just one best costume design, Yeah, earned.

Speaker 3 (01:23:36):
Fully because I love that about the looks because they
are sexy, but they're wacky. They're like whack a doodle dandy,
which I really I really appreciated that. Again, I just
I will forgive so much about this movie because of
what she wore.

Speaker 2 (01:23:56):
The last thing I have, I think is just like
a little where and like the way that the source
material kind of shines through is on the idea of
like labor and what constitutes labor and how Bella's view
on labor evolves over time, because I do feel like

(01:24:17):
miss prim is connected in that conversation, even though I
don't think the movie really sticks the landing on it.
But like Bella doesn't understand a world in which she
her needs are not constantly met because she grows up
with this immense privilege in her like question Mark, who
knows the amount of time this movie is supposed to

(01:24:39):
take place over, I have no fucking clue, But like
it's not until she has her political awakening and which
again I think is really badly done in this movie
with just like a shot of poverty, the cinematic shot
or whatever, but like that shot that like changes her

(01:25:00):
view of labor moving forward, and like I feel like
that culminates in like she has a job, she's a
sex worker. She understands the highs and lows that comes
with working in the service industry, and that culminates to
like when she sees her mom's ex husband, question Mark,

(01:25:21):
her father, her father, when she's married to her father.

Speaker 1 (01:25:25):
Again, Yeah, her husband father.

Speaker 2 (01:25:27):
There's a lot of daddies in this movie. Yeah, but
like her husband is also her daddy, and her daddy
is also gone, so there's like there's a lot going on.

Speaker 1 (01:25:38):
The TLC specials and the tale is oldest time when
your dad is your god and your dad is also
your husband.

Speaker 3 (01:25:45):
Who among us, and you are also your baby, and.

Speaker 1 (01:25:48):
You were also your own baby and your own mother,
but with.

Speaker 2 (01:25:51):
Her biological dad technically Captain Blessington whatever the fucking Dave
is is like holding his employees at gunpoint and essentially
torturing them, and then she learns that her mother and
her body did the same thing. Like, I like that
is like a full circle on the labor discussion. And
I thought like in general, like it wasn't super dwelled on,

(01:26:14):
but I liked it on like further viewings, it's like
over the top and ridiculous, but you know, her views
on labor definitely evolve and change along with everything else,
which is again like why the more the more I
watch the movie, the more I'm like, I don't really
agree with the sex criticism. I could see a lot
of the visual criticism, like I get it if it's uncomfortable,

(01:26:36):
and like you think that that time can be better
used elsewhere, but like she's on a lot of journeys,
just they're not all visually.

Speaker 1 (01:26:45):
As interesting as sex and naked bodies. Yeah, yeah, I
do think that the movie and we I think already
said this to some extent, but that the movie SU
spends too long on that chunk because there's no forward momentum.
For a while, is just like her learning about sex
and exploring her sexuality, and then by the time she

(01:27:06):
starts to like learn about philosophy and learn about socialism
and has her like political discovery.

Speaker 2 (01:27:12):
It's like two hundred books later. But you see every
sexual encounter.

Speaker 1 (01:27:17):
Right, I'm just like, uh, why spend so much time
on that, because to me, it would make sense if
it was like not in montage necessarily, but a few
minutes are spent on her sex life, and then a
few more minutes like it, but it just again, that
momentum comes to a screeching halt for like twenty minutes
while she's like out there fucking a bunch of people

(01:27:39):
or I guess mostly just the one guy. But in
any case, I just I feel like there was a
better way to use that time, and I wish that
there was more about her ARC that has her learning
about other things and expanding her mind starts happening sooner,
But instead it's like, no, she's having sex with a

(01:28:03):
shitty person, which also relatable. Who among us hasn't.

Speaker 3 (01:28:08):
That's what I was gonna say is like, weirdly, I
felt fine with the amount of time that was spent
on her fucking this awful person, because like, it's fun
to watch people have sex. It's even fun to watch
people have sex that they probably shouldn't be having within certain.

Speaker 2 (01:28:24):
Boundaries, right, which just like debatable within this movie.

Speaker 3 (01:28:29):
Yeah, which is debatable with this movie. For sure. I
didn't long to spend more time with her like book
in hand, Like here's a montage of her like reading,
you know, like I didn't. I don't know if I
necessarily would. I mean sure, actually, like that sounds aesthetic
and amazing, and I would love to see like her
reading outfits. But I do think that more time could

(01:28:52):
have been spent kind of confronting head on the stuff
with God and like the stuff with her ultimate husband.
And how again, we mentioned that we just like forgave
all those people so immediately we were expected to, So
if anything, I think we could have cut away some
of that stuff, not because it's like offensive or whatever,

(01:29:14):
but because like there was so much that went unaddressed. Again,
despite the movie being twenty minutes too long.

Speaker 2 (01:29:20):
Yeah, yeah, Like it's not that I want to see
montages of her reading it's that I would have preferred,
but more scenes where you see the result of that reading,
because that felt way more rushed.

Speaker 3 (01:29:35):
Yeah, no, you're right. I mean I heard it linguistically
and I wasn't mad at it. I was like surprised
and delighted by it. But with more thought, and indeed,
I am becoming the madder at it. It's like she
went overnight from Goo Goo Gaga to like, I read
Nietzsche and you know, I am incorporating that vernacular into

(01:29:57):
the way that I talk every day. It was, Yeah,
it was overnight the movie.

Speaker 1 (01:30:00):
Yeah, also to speak to the like why does she
so readily forgive these awful men, namely God and Max,
to the point where she agrees to marry Max. And
there is that exchange of dialogue where she says something
like I've been a whore, you understand Cox for money
inside me, which is a hilarious way to phrase that,

(01:30:20):
And she's like, are you okay with that? Does that
challenge the desire for ownership that men have? And Max responds,
I find myself merely jealous of the men's time with you,
rather than any moral aspersion against you. It is your body.
Bella Baxter yours to give freely, and I'm like, okay, good,
good attitude to have. But that doesn't mean you have

(01:30:41):
to marry him because you said that. But it's kind
of suggested that that's her train of thought because the
scene after that is them getting married. So I'm like, right,
you don't have to marry him.

Speaker 2 (01:30:53):
I can get on fervid that as far as like,
the first time that marriage is floated, she has no
say in it, right, She's presented with like the illusion
of choice because she is not able to consent to
marriage nor sex because she's.

Speaker 1 (01:31:08):
Like five, a toddler.

Speaker 2 (01:31:10):
But when it comes back around, yeah, I think that
there could have been another way to get that across,
and ultimately she doesn't go through with it, But like,
I do like that the second time it is very
firmly her choice. That's true, but again it is like
choosing something somewhat conventional. But again it makes more sense

(01:31:30):
for me in the book ending, where like the advantage
of being married to him in Victorian times is that
he is also a doctor and they can work together,
and like, just based on what we see of Bella Baxter,
I'm assuming that any marriage she's in would not be monogamous.
I don't think that she's the closed marriage type. So

(01:31:52):
like I wasn't super bothered by it. I just was
more like bummed out by but also felt like, oh, yeah,
that's the thing where it's like you marry the first
person who like kind of respects you, which totally you know,
like that certainly does happen.

Speaker 3 (01:32:08):
Oh my god, yeah it's happening left right and center.
Yeah it was. It did give Stockholm syndrome a little bit.
Another b protagonist, miss Bell from Beauty and the Beast,
it was a little bit a little bit that, but
that dude was less hot than the Beast.

Speaker 2 (01:32:26):
So anyway, I think Max, like God, is also sort
of let off the hook, like we were talking about
this earlier where he's just like.

Speaker 3 (01:32:34):
Yeah, you know, right right.

Speaker 2 (01:32:35):
But like I feel like the movie forgives him for
willingly and with full understanding, participating in trapping her and
treating her like property. Yeah yeah, and lusting after her
when she was a baby. It doesn't just feel like
Bella says, I forgive you. It also feels like the

(01:32:56):
movie is like, and this is the guy for her,
and I just like, again, I'm like, I just think
maybe if you have a woman co writer that is
not the result.

Speaker 3 (01:33:08):
Agree.

Speaker 1 (01:33:09):
Yeah, I also wish that because we see Felicity at
the end too, when they're like in the little courtyard
and the General goat Man is like bah.

Speaker 2 (01:33:20):
General goat Man is a great character name.

Speaker 1 (01:33:24):
Yeah, and then missus prim is being nicer and Max
is there just sort of like chilling, and then Felicity
was also there, and I'm like, Okay, well, what's going
on with Bella and Felicity? Are they friends? Is Bella
Felicity's mentor? Like I want to know a little bit
more about that too, Okay, Anyway, is there anything else

(01:33:45):
anyone wants to talk about?

Speaker 2 (01:33:46):
I feel like we cracked it, We figured it out,
we cracked it.

Speaker 1 (01:33:51):
I also feel like we've barely scratched the surface of
this very complex movie.

Speaker 2 (01:33:56):
But actually, the last thing I wanted to say is
like I tried to research. I mean, it would be
an infinity project to try to track down all of
the analysis of this movie, and there's just too fucking
much of it. Like we've talked about, there was a
fair amount of backlash to the protracted sex scenes with
a presumably underage character and all of the stuff that

(01:34:20):
came with that. I also found a number of trans
writers that were very pro this movie, reading it as
a resurrection within a familiar but new body and like
navigating identity inside of a new body and a new
identity inside of a body that is familiar but new
and like. So I just wanted to acknowledge that read

(01:34:42):
of the movie, which I had heard about but I
hadn't like, actually spent any time reading before prepping for
this episode. So we can link to several of those
essays as well.

Speaker 3 (01:34:52):
I like knowing that because I don't know if I'm
just in my like optimism era or what, but I
think it's nice to find excuses to appreciate a piece
of art that like a fuck ton of work went into,
even if there are critiques that are, yeah, you know

(01:35:13):
what I mean, Like I think for me, the bottom
line of this movie is like your ghost Land. The
Moost is a little jerkin' off little boy. He loves
a stunt. He is an edge lord for me. He
loves to like provoke, but not in the way that
he thinks he's provoking. And he's asking us to forgive

(01:35:38):
a lot of nonsense because we're so like caught up
in that provocation and at the end of the day
like it worked because I am actually at the end
of the day forgiving a lot, but not for the
reasons why he wants me to make those pardons, if
that makes sense. Yeah, art is so up to interpretation,

(01:36:01):
Like because there was no woman in the room, I
don't think the movie he intended to make is a
landing in the same way on all the women viewers
who are going to see it.

Speaker 2 (01:36:12):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (01:36:13):
I mean there was Emmastone as an executive producer for sure,
but I'm talking about like in the writing of it and.

Speaker 2 (01:36:17):
Such still like overwhelmingly men.

Speaker 3 (01:36:19):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, And so like, in spite of all that,
I do like that there's so much to find in
this movie that is positive, empowering, stylish feminists, et cetera,
and that reflects well on the viewers, even if the
people who made it didn't engineer those things. If that

(01:36:42):
makes sense.

Speaker 1 (01:36:43):
Yeah, yeah. For me, the bottom line is the movie
would have benefited from more perspective from women on the
storytelling and creative end of things, because the things that
I think this movie mishandles are things that if a

(01:37:05):
woman creative was involved, she would have been like no, now,
let's not do that, or let's like, you know, make
this adaptation change to kind of modernize this or make
it more intersectional, or you know, whatever needed to happen.
And instead it's just so many men making choices and

(01:37:31):
in some cases like they handled things well. Again, like
the way that many of the male characters are behaving
in their conduct as it relates to their interactions with women.
I think that all tracks very well, but other things
not so much. I will say that, and I think
we touched on this a little bit already, But something

(01:37:52):
I really appreciated is that because of Bella's baby brain,
she moves through the world with this like sense of
adventure and wonder and like shamelessness and willingness to indulge
that most adults, especially women, are sort of like conditioned
and societally forced to unlearn because of like propriety and politeness,

(01:38:16):
especially in this like Victorian era. So the fact that
you see this woman and even though she's like again,
baby brain for a lot of this, but someone who
appears on the surface to be a woman, you see her,
you know, eating whatever delicious things she wants whenever she wants.
You see her fucking whenever she wants and whoever she wants.

(01:38:37):
You see her just being curious and asking whatever questions
she wants and rejecting the notion of the status quo
a lot of the time, and challenging the power and
behavior of men, and all of these things. We're just
very refreshing to see because I too like to eat
delicious things and speak my mind.

Speaker 3 (01:38:58):
Yeah, exactly, there's like something to learn from Baby Brain.
And it's like, is it baby brain or is it
just unmitigated brain? You know, like, yeah, and that's an
interesting question to ponder.

Speaker 2 (01:39:08):
I think that. Yeah. Like where I divert from the
Baby Brain critique is that this movie is very much
for adults. I don't think that this is a movie
that is being marketed at kids or young people. I
mean not to say that like people coming of age
won't find this movie. That almost always happens, but it's

(01:39:29):
an R rated movie. I think it is like safe
to assume that the target audience of this movie knows
not to fuck a baby. But if that creative choice
is removed from the movie, everything changes and a lot
of the commentary becomes impossible. I think, like what bugs
me about this I think there's a lot to love
about this movie. I ended up liking it. I like,

(01:39:52):
the first time I watched it, I didn't like it.
Now I'm like, well, I watch it again anytime soon. No,
I've seen it three times. I'd like, if there's anything
else to had from this movie, it will never reach me.
But I ended up liking it more than I originally did.
But I think like the big thing for me here
that I like stand by of like original viewing Jamie,

(01:40:12):
is that there is like a clear example within this
director's body of work that when he is centering women,
he needs a woman in the writing room for it
to translate. And that's like very clear between his last
movie and this movie. I think the Favorite in general
is a stronger work and has more to say about women,

(01:40:36):
very likely because of the one differential, which is that
it was adapted by a work from a woman by
a woman, not saying that you have to be a
woman to have something interesting to say, but it certainly
doesn't hurt. And I think your ghost laid the most
in Tony mcnamaraned a woman in the room to maximize

(01:40:56):
their joint male sleigh. Okay, that's all I have to say.
About this movie. I refuse to say another word. It
passes the Bechdel test for sure.

Speaker 1 (01:41:06):
Yes, quite a bit between a number of different combinations
of characters. Bella and Martha are talking about masturbating in philosophy,
my two favorite things. Ella and Twinette are talking about
socialism and their C section scars. Bella and Madame Swiney
are talking about various things. Yeah. So there are many

(01:41:29):
conversations that pass the Bechdel test, although so many of
the interactions are between Bella and men, So there's that.

Speaker 3 (01:41:39):
But it is cool that when those conversations aren't happening
and she's talking to women, they're not talking about men.
Mostly they almost never are.

Speaker 2 (01:41:46):
Yeah, yeah, the second men are gone, Bella is not
thinking about them.

Speaker 3 (01:41:50):
Out of sight, out of mind, Yeah, truly.

Speaker 2 (01:41:53):
Bella Baxter ultimately like an amazing character. I love her.

Speaker 3 (01:41:57):
I love her, and that out of sight, out of
mind thing reflects another thing that's great about her, which
is she is so present. Yes, yeah, which is aspirational.

Speaker 1 (01:42:07):
She's noticing things.

Speaker 3 (01:42:09):
She's realizing things.

Speaker 1 (01:42:11):
When women realize things, it's beautiful. It's huge for us
as far as our nipple scale goes. So rating the
movie on a scale of zero two five nipples based
on examining the movie through an intersectional feminist lens, I'll
go I'm somewhere around like a four nipple rating. I
think the movie does accomplish a lot. I think its

(01:42:36):
shortcomings are fairly obvious to me, and again wouldn't have
to be shortcomings if they had more meaningfully included more
women in the creative and storytelling process. But the movie
has a clear agenda, which is to show the kind
of growth and liberation of a woman and to comment

(01:43:01):
on toxic male behavior, especially the way they perceive and
treat women. So I think the movie is doing a
lot of those things pretty well, and I'll give it
four nipples. Pray, Pray, thank you. My nipples are going
to Susie Bumba, who plays Antwinete, or just Twinett is

(01:43:24):
probably a nickname for Antwinette. I'm guessing I'll give one
to Martha, i will give one to Madam Swiney, and
I'll give one to I'm a Stone.

Speaker 2 (01:43:39):
The end, I'm going to get fractional. I'm going to
do three point seven five, partially just to kind of
be a bitch. I think that like I'm gonna go
three point seven five just because I don't want to
give four men navigating their way around telling a story
about woman's awakening. Four I refuse to do it. I cannot.

Speaker 1 (01:43:58):
That's fair.

Speaker 2 (01:43:59):
But I think with that limitation, there is still a
lot going on in this movie that most movies don't
even bother with. And I think that Emma Stone's performance
and involvement in production, I think we should always mention
when the star of a movie is also a producer,
because I feel like you can really feel it in
the movie and it answers a lot of questions about

(01:44:21):
like we know that Emma's Stone would not be put
into a situation to do a sex scene she didn't
want to do because she is in charge, you know.
And that's an oversimplification, but stuff like that, I think
that this movie has a lot going for it, and
you know, a woman's socialist awakening. You know, I can't
hate that movie.

Speaker 1 (01:44:39):
And I won't true.

Speaker 2 (01:44:41):
So I'll go three point seventy five and I'm gonna
just make it clean. I'm going to give all of
my nipples to Catherine Hunter, who plays Swiney, just because
I think she is such an incredible character actor, and
you should watch the Joel Cohen Macbeth where she plays

(01:45:02):
the witches.

Speaker 1 (01:45:03):
Ah, yes, Amanda, how about you.

Speaker 3 (01:45:06):
One of my best friends has a third nipple, So
I think I'm gonna give three full size nipples and
one third nipple nipple if that's okay?

Speaker 1 (01:45:18):
Yeah, yes, please.

Speaker 3 (01:45:19):
And I'm gonna give them all as well to one
single person. Holly Waddington, the costume designer. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:45:28):
Oh yes, Oscar winner Holly Waddington.

Speaker 3 (01:45:32):
Yeah, like truly life changing for me.

Speaker 1 (01:45:38):
She did a great job. Well, Amanda, thank you so
much for joining us for this discussion.

Speaker 2 (01:45:42):
What a blast we did it. We figured it out.

Speaker 1 (01:45:45):
We cracked the code.

Speaker 3 (01:45:47):
Oh my god, what a distinct pleasure. Thank you so much.

Speaker 2 (01:45:52):
Where can we find you online? Where can we buy
your new book? Tell us everything?

Speaker 3 (01:45:56):
Oh that's so nice. So my book is available April ninth,
wherever you buy books and hardback ebook audiobook. I read
it myself, and you can find my podcast Sounds Like
a Cult on all major podcast platforms. Episodes come out
on Tuesdays, and stay tuned because these two right here
are gonna come on for an episode on Sounds Like

(01:46:18):
a Cult whose topic we're still noodling. It's a show
about the modern day cults we all follow, and we're
still debating between the cult of Shrek and the cult
of Leo DiCaprio. There is a right answer. So far,
the listeners have voted for the wrong answer. But I
got so many dms specifically requesting the right answer that

(01:46:41):
who knows, we might we might have to stop in
the middle of the episode and end up doing who knows,
So anyway, that sounds like a cult. And then I
am reluctantly on Instagram at Amanda Underscore Motel and I
have a substack very good.

Speaker 2 (01:46:56):
You can find us on Instagram and some Timestell Twitter,
at Bechdel Cast. Individually, we are at jamiechrist Superstar and
at Caitlin Tourande on Instagram, and you can join our
Patreon aka Matreon. We're for five dollars a month. You
can get two bonus episodes and access to over one
hundred and fifty episodes of back catalog.

Speaker 1 (01:47:19):
Sleigh, that's right. You can buy our merch at teapublic
dot com, slash the Bechdel Cast, and you can see
us live on our Shrektanner tour in May in various
cities abroad for US.

Speaker 2 (01:47:36):
Yes, in the UK and Dublin. Oh that's huge, So.

Speaker 1 (01:47:40):
Go to our link tree link tree slash Bechdel Cast
for tickets to those shows. And with that a Google
Goga Bye bye.

Speaker 2 (01:47:49):
Goog goga wineglass clink. We did it, ladies. The man's
a goat dundu and let's go goats bye.

Speaker 1 (01:48:03):
The Bechdel Cast is a production of iHeartMedia, hosted by
Caitlin Derante and Jamie Loftis, produced by Sophie Lichterman, edited
by mo La Boord. Our theme song was composed by
Mike Kaplan with vocals by Katherine Voskressensky. Our logo in
merch is designed by Jamie Loftis and a special thanks
to Aristotle Acevedo. For more information about the podcast, please

(01:48:25):
visit Linktree slash Bechdel Cast

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