It’s the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and so there’s been quite a bit about both the book and its author around this year. This film, directed by Saudi filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour looks at Mary Shelley as daughter, sister and partner as well as writer. I liked the way that it emphasized the importance of Shelley’s impoverished father William Godwin and mother Mary Wollstonecraft as intellectuals, although their radicalism was downplayed. The film finishes on rather a high note with the publication of the second edition, although it could have extended even further where the loss and poverty of Shelley’s life became even more tragic. However, while mentally cheering inside, I don’t know that I actually buy the suggestion that the book was written as Shelley’s jab at the two monstrous men in her life, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron (who is particularly creepy in the this film.) Elle Fanning is luminous, and it’s beautifully staged.
My rating: 3.5 stars (of 5)
Shame that Mary Wollstonecraft couldn’t be given more emphasis since she was a very fine supporter of women’s rights. She was probably downplayed because she died so young and left Mary alone as a neonate. Or because she had some rather weird relationships herself.