Mary Shelley

The bride of Frankenstein

Film. Mary Shelley retraces the fate of the woman behind Frankenstein. An ideal role for Elle Fanning and a subject made to measure for Haifaa Al-Mansour, unique and talented Saudi director. Demonstration.

By Lisa Moumni-Barbault

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin is 16 when she begins a passionate and scandalous relationship with the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley with whom she runs away. Mary Shelley recounts the tormented fate of the one who only 19 years old, invents Frankenstein’s monster, giving birth to one of the novels that will revolutionize English literature.

A staging that is in line with the movies of Jane Campion.

Fanning (currently playing How To Talk To Girls At Parties, see our interview with director John Cameron Mitchell) gives full intensity to a Mary Shelley in love and helplessness. By his side, Douglas Booth (Noah, The Riot Club …) plays with the ideal casualness his lover and future husband Percy Shelley. Their progressive ideas and their scandalous living together will keep them outside society at the time.

It will not be surprising to learn that the film is directed by the Saudi woman Haifaa Al-Mansour (Wadjda, 2013), for whom the story of a woman who is prevented to create in a patriarchal society has nothing of a historical drama. The way she films Elle Fanning, cluttered by her long skirts, her hats, her corsets … turns out be imprints of natural reminding that the director knows what she is talking about. For her, it is not a simple costum drama. His staging is in line with Jane Campion’s films (The Piano, Bright Star …).

Beyond a tribute to a determined and courageous woman, the film is not just a biopic on the novelist. He strives to highlight the genesis of Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus, a Gothic masterpiece whose idea was born in Switzerland during a long rainy summer in the castle of Lord Byron. Like the novel, it reveals that monsters are not always the ones we believe.