Monday, 16 April 2018

Film Review: Mary Shelley Trailer

Something exciting dropped on the 12th of April, 2018 — a movie trailer of a film that I having been greatly anticipating since becoming aware of the production and its immense cast of American/British talent: Elle Fanning, Maisie Williams, Douglas Booth and Bel Powley. With the exception of Powley, I have been an avid fan and follower of the aforementioned actor's and their careers to date. Thinking about it now, maybe that makes me more biased to the film as a whole. Really though, I just like to think that the cast itself makes me all the more excited for it.

Yet, when scrolling through Youtube comments and online articles, it becomes clear that there are people who seem dubious over the clear feminist agenda made apparent throughout the trailer. Lines such as 'The woman is not intelligent enough to form ideas of her own' have heavy connotations of feminist criticism. When I learned that this is truly what Lord Byron felt at the time, however, I couldn't help but be glad that the film wasn't sugarcoating the feminist issues at the time. Shelley's mother was, of course, an avid member of the feminist movement. Besides, if a movie such as I Love You, Daddy can be cut from airing due to its poor taste and obvious anti-feminism, then why can't a film celebrating the achievements of women just be celebrated as they should be? As the old saying goes, it seems that to some people you just can't win either way.

One of the beginning lines of the trailer comes from Maisie Williams. When Fanning, as Mary Shelley, asks her "Who is that?", she replies with "Shelley — beautiful, isn't he?" Instead of continuing the love story between the two as many archetypal period dramas would (we already know from Mary Shelley's namesake that the two inevitably get married), the story shifts into a feminist lens that is highly palpable throughout the rest of the trailer. These feminist overtones are, of course, what the haters are hating, but if done with more subtly throughout the film itself then I don't see it as a blinding problem at all. 

What are your thoughts? The mixture of feminism and great casting simply makes me all the more excited to go out and see this film. Of course, as with anything including feminism, the reactions are polarising. Let me know what side you're on.

Mary Shelley is due for release from May 2018.

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