About the film
Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour
Actors: Douglas Booth, Elle FanningIn 1818 Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin published Frankenstein, Or The Modern Prometheus, a book that remains one English literature’s finest works and an icon of horror and science fiction genres.
If that’s not impressive enough, she was only 21 and (although the book was initially published anonymously) refused to use a male pseudonym.
When eighteen-year-old Mary (Elle Fanning) elopes with charismatic, married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (Douglas Booth) — taking her stepsister Claire (Bel Powey) with them — she enters a life as defined by debt and infamy. Their travels eventually bring the trio into the circle of the star poet Lord Byron (a scene-stealing Tom Sturridge) and a fateful summer at his villa in Switzerland where, during a ghost story challenge, the seed of Frankenstein is planted and nurtured (as is other fun stuff).
Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al-Mansour (Wadja) and first-time screenwriter Emma Jensen explore the scandalous romance in style. Mary Shelley is certainly lovely to look at through candlelit interiors and stolen glances, as are the good-looking young actors declaiming poetry and prose in crisply accented, grammatically flawless English.
But I digress, at is heart it is a tale of female empowerment against the passionate disappointment of loss and betrayal and the determination of a young female protagonist to accomplish an important goal that will confirm her independence.