In our modern age and with the #METOO movement front and center it cannot be denied that female empowerment is front in center.
History teaches us and fiction inspires us. Coming to the screens is a film that embraces both of these notions. IFC Films’ MARY SHELLEY is a strong presentation of a female voice that broke the rules and created her own tone.
The true story of the infamous author is full of as much tragedy, as well as bliss. As a young woman in an age of male domination she was able to live by her own rules. It was a struggle, but she managed to mark her moment in history with one of the most prolific novels in the horror genre. MARY SHELLEY tells the story evenly and with passion. The truthful voice of Mary in her moment in history is truly a perfect sound to hear in our modern efforts.
The film starting tells the story of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (Elle Fanning) – author of one of the world’s most famous Gothic novels ‘Frankenstein’ – and her fiery, tempestuous relationship with renowned romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (Douglas Booth.) The pair are two outsiders constrained by polite society but bound together by a natural chemistry and progressive ideas that are beyond the boundaries of their age and time. Mary and Percy declare their love for each other and much to her family’s horror they run away together, joined by Mary’s half-sister Claire (Bel Powley.) In the midst of growing tension within their relationship during their stay at Lord Byron’s (Tom Sturridge) house at Lake Geneva, the idea of Frankenstein is conceived when a challenge is put to all houseguests to write a ghost story. An incredible character is created, which will loom large in popular culture for centuries to come, but society at the time puts little value in female authors. At the tender age of 18, Mary is forced to challenge these preconceptions, to protect her work and to forge her own identity.
Fanning’s performance is grand and unique. There is a delicate balance she has found in the pain of the author’s life from personal turmoil that she used to create her memorable monster. But, it goes beyond weeping and sadness. It turns in to a voice of strength, which in this day and age needs to be heard and heard loudly.
Haifaa Al Mansour is a wonderful choice for the project considering her own history of breaking away and escaping the oppression of her personal surroundings is a commonality found with Shelly.
“MARY SHELLEY is the remarkable true story of a woman who railed against the constraints of her society to create a story that would outlive the work of her contemporaries, including her brilliant parents and husband, to influence generations of writers and dreamers with an entirely new genre: science fiction,” stated the director. “Her own story feels so strangely familiar because so much of it ended up allegorically in Frankenstein. We all know the basic story, but her journey reveals so many layers and deeper philosophical elements that help explain the work’s appeal.”
The film will move you and bring you to a new level of appreciation for the past. MARY SHELLEY is in theaters May 25 and On Demand June 1.