Mary Shelley - A Movie Review
Before I went to see Haifaa Al-Mansour's new movie, Mary Shelley, I had some idea that this would not be your usual 19th century drama. As the author of the quintessential Gothic horror novel, Frankenstein, there is no mistaking Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin as a very modern, young woman in her pursuit of a most unconventional life.
From the outset, we see Mary (Elle Fanning) refuse to follow the expectations of her step-mother, Mary Jane Clairmont (Joanne Froggatt), while she is particularly close to her half-sister, Claire Clairmont (Bel Powley), and in many ways her philosopher father, William Godwin (Stephen Dillane). We are witness to her passionate relationship with poet Percy Shelley (Douglas Booth), and the personal tragedies, betrayals, and professional challenges she experiences and overcomes in order to control her own destiny. Mary's determination and drive to live life on her own terms is particularly evident in the most domestic of scenes when Mary tells her step-mother that she doesn't give an iota about her reputation even after the revelation that Percy is still married.
Although I feel that more time should have been spent on the development and creation of Frankenstein, Fanning's solid performance as Mary, the quality of the period details, and Tom Sturridge as the eccentric and volatile Lord Byron make up for the lack of depth given to this part of the movie.
Mary Shelley will be playing at selected cinemas from Thursday, 5 July 2018.