Inside Poor Things’ sex scene so controversial it had to be edited for release under UK law

The sex scenes in this film make Saltburn seem family friendly

Poor Things, the new dementedly beautiful epic from legendary award-winning surrealist director Yorgos Lanthimos, hits UK cinemas on Friday. But before the Emma Stone fronted genre-bending comedy was allowed to be released, Poor Things most controversial sex scene had to be re-edited under UK law.

Poor Things is not short of a sex scene that doesn’t leave jaws on the ground – with Lanthimos’ film showing Emma Stone as Bella Baxter discovering the world and her sexuality as its integral plot point. Nearly all the sex scenes are wild, but none more so than this one that the British Board of Film Classification demanded the editors recut to make suitable for UK cinema classification and release. Minor spoilers for Poor Things ahead – fair warning.

Towards the final arc of the film, when Bella is in Paris she becomes a sex worker. One of her clients is a Frenchman who is paying to have sex with Bella with his two children watching, in order to “teach” them how to have sex. If this scene wasn’t redone, the film would have got released “unclassified” which means it can’t show in cinemas.

“We informed the distributor we would be likely to classify the film 18 on condition that changes be made to one short sequence depicting sexual activity in the presence of children,” the British Board of Film Classifications said in a statement. “This is in accordance with the Protection of Children Act 1978.

“When the distributor submitted the film for formal classification, the scene had been re-edited, and we were able to classify the film 18.”

Poor Things has garnered major acclaim so far, in spite of any controversy. At Sunday night’s Golden Globes, it won Best Picture – Musical or Comedy and Emma Stone won Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.

Poor Things releases in UK cinemas on Friday. For all the best film , music, reality TV and entertainment news, like Pop Culture Shrine on Facebook

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