Mary Shelley

Directed by Haifa Al-Mansour, Starring Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, Bel Powley, Stephen Dillane, Joanne Froggatt, Maise Williams, Ben Hardy and Tom Sturridge

That Saudi Arabia’s first female director brings us a film depicting a woman battling societal norms to carve a place for herself to develop her craft is no coincidence. Haifaa Al-Mansour can relate to Mary Shelley’s experienced as a women in the 1800s striving to find her own voice as a writer and this is where she decided to focus. Al-Masour brings this perspective as well as new meaning to the Frankenstein story in this film.

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was 18. It was published anonymously in 1818 when Mary Shelley was 20 years old and it wasn’t until 1823 when the 2nd edition was published that the novel bore her name as the author.  Many believed the novel to be written by her husband, Percy Shelley.

This film takes us to the meeting of Mary and Percy, and through their relationship and other events which we imagine likely contribute to Mary’s novel and what Frankenstein represents.

The cast was decent. Surely there is an English actress who might have been better cast as Mary, but Elle did a decent job as she always does. Bel Powley who plays Mary’s half-sister, Claire Clairemont, was excellent and I would love to see more of her. I suppose I should get around to watching Diary of a Teenage Girl.

There is an abundance of material with the cast of characters that chummed around together in the early 1800s, between Mary Shelley, Percey Shelley, Claire Clarmont, John Polidori and Lord Byron. You could feed a few seasons of a mini-series and someone definitely should.

Overall I enjoyed the film.

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