Irish Film Institute -Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley

Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour

119 mins, UK-Luxembourg-USA, 2017, Digital

This film was released 6th July 2018, and is no longer screening.

Acclaimed director Haifaa Al-Mansour (Wadjda) brings to life Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin’s fiery, tempestuous relationship with romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the creation of Frankenstein, one of the world’s most famous Gothic novels.

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 (Elle Fanning) and Percy (Tom Sturridge) 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 house at Lake Geneva, the idea of Frankenstein is conceived when a challenge is put to all house guests 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.

Notes by David O’Mahony

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