Poor Things ending

The darker meaning behind Poor Things’ shocking final gag explained

The ending manages to be euphoric and deeply twisted at the same time

Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest weird and wonderful film Poor Things hit UK cinemas on Friday, and you can’t move for five star reviews for Emma Stone’s best ever performance as she stars as Bella Baxter on a riotous and bizarre journey through a steampunk-retrofuturistic Victorian era world. There are as many disturbing moments in Poor Things as there are laugh out loud funny, but not many are as equal in both aspects as the gag of the ending.

Warning – spoilers for Poor Things and its ending ahead. 

Bella proves she’s the GOAT (sorry, had to)

In the climax of the film, we see Bella Baxter triumphing over all the men who’ve taken advantage of her her whole life and see her living in her own version of paradise. In this world, surrounded by her friends, Bella runs her own universe to her liking – excelling in surgery like Godwin before her.

It’s a euphoric victory over Christopher Abbott’s turn as Alfie Blessington. In the final saga of Poor Things, we see Alfie turn up at Bella’s wedding to Max McCandles and he reveals he’s her husband before she took her own life and was reanimated as Bella by Godwin Baxter. Curious to her life before everything she’s learned, Bella goes with him and finds out he’s extremely abusive and controlling and plans to have Bella mutilated and her clitoris removed to exert horrific control over her further. When he tries to chloroform Bella, she throws it on him and he ends up the one undergoing surgery.

The final gag that Bella has exerted full control over the man who sought to control her, reducing him to the mind of a goat, is one of euphoria even when it’s disturbing. It’s a great final hurrah for Bella after a film filled with men desperate to control her. Before she took her own life, Alfie Blessington controlled and abused her. Godwin Baxter reanimated her without her consent. Max McCandles loves her but doesn’t want her to travel and see the world alone. Duncan Wedderburn wanted to shape Bella’s quirks to his own liking.

It’s a euphoric ending even when the visual imagery is so demented. What a film.

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

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