Mary Shelley – Review

Elle Fanning as Mary Shelley in Mary Shelley – Courtesy of Transmission Films.

One would think that a film that delves into the life of the woman who created Frankenstein’s Monster would blend genres and provide a fascinating narrative about creating a monster – one would think that…

Mary Shelley follows the real life story of the author of the same name, and how she came to write the masterful monster story called Frankenstein’s Monster, a book that captured the imaginations and fears of individuals all around the world.

Elle Fanning leads the charge as a sprightly young woman attempting to prove herself as an author while diving down a dark and winding path. In Mary Shelley audiences are ultimately subjugated to a flurry of bizarre plot directions and decisions that will come across as unnatural throughout the course of this narrative, be prepared. Initially I thought this film would dive into the intricacies of publishing such a controversial book and how the world reacted to it – oddly enough Mary Shelley instead takes the path of a love story by exploring aspects of her life that seem reductive for a film of this nature.

This is a film that revolves around a teenager styled romance and a bizarre love triangle – things that rarely work effectively as a centerpiece for a story of this nature. This film felt its strongest when it delved into the psychological breakdown of Mary herself and the strength that she required to write her book, this unfortunately was merely touched upon. There are moments that this film showed potential, but the overindulgent sappiness and drawn out love story leaves much to be desired by the films close. The film ultimately waits until the end of the last act to provide any story in regards to her actually writing her book; making the concept of this being a story about a famous author become almost redundant. Additionally actor Douglas Booth had difficulty providing an authentic and believable performance in the setting he was in, despite being just as much of a major character in the story as Mary was herself.

This film felt shaky in its authenticity, like a teen flick in the skin of a true story event, though Fanning is no amateur actress even her skills could not pull the story away from the tiring love tale it forced in. Bogged down by the sappy young love story than was brute forced in, Mary Shelley struggles to delve deeply into the mind behind Frankenstein’s Monster, despite Elle Fanning’s admirable effort in trying to provide it.

3.4/10

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