Poor Things: Film adaptation of Alasdair Gray novel wins Golden Globes

The latest collaboration between director Yorgos Lanthimos and Emma Stone, Poor Things opens in cinemas this week after Golden Globes success
(L-R) Yorgos Lanthimos, Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, and Ramy Youssef, winners of the Best Picture, Musical or Comedy award for "Poor Things" pose in the press room during the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton. Picture: Amy Sussman/Getty Images(L-R) Yorgos Lanthimos, Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, and Ramy Youssef, winners of the Best Picture, Musical or Comedy award for "Poor Things" pose in the press room during the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton. Picture: Amy Sussman/Getty Images
(L-R) Yorgos Lanthimos, Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, and Ramy Youssef, winners of the Best Picture, Musical or Comedy award for "Poor Things" pose in the press room during the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton. Picture: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

The film, which sees the director and actress collaborate for the first time since 2018’s The Favourite, earned the Best Film - Musical or Comedy award, while Emma Stone collected her second of what could be many awards this season, earning Best Actress - Musical or Comedy.

Having premiered at the 2023 Venice International Film Festival, the first major screen adaptation of Alasdair Gray work earned the Gold Lion, the top film award at the festival, with critics praising the film for its cinematography and performances from Stone, Willem Defoe, Mark Ruffalo and Ramy Youssef. Poor Things is expected to receive Oscar nominations ahead of the Academy Awards in March.

The film marks international success for one of the most formidable talents Glasgow every produced. Sorcha Dallas, custodian of the Alasdair Gray Archive, told The Guardian: “Alasdair is to Glasgow what Charles Dickens is to London or James Joyce is to Dublin.” Yet the city is completely absent from Poor Things, the Glasgow setting stripped away from the source material.

A Victorian, feminist, satirical version of Frankenstein, the novel Poor Things rooted fantasy fiction in a real Glasgow setting with Bella Baxter, played by Emma Stone in the film, living at 18 Park Circus and getting married in Lansdowne Church. The director chose to remove every reference to Glasgow, moving the story to a steampunk version of London.

Producers Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe said the decision to frame the film through the perspective of Bella Baxter necessitated “some reworking”.

Despite this omission, Glasgow remains a central character in Alasdair Gray's books and artwork, including his Cowcaddens painting that has recently been added to the collection at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

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