Emma Stone defends "controversial" sex scenes in Poor Things following criticism

18 January 2024, 17:39

POOR THINGS | Official Trailer | Searchlight Pictures

By Sam Prance

One sex scene in Poor Things was so polarising that it was edited out of the UK version of the movie.

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Emma Stone has defended the sex scenes in Poor Things after they've been criticised as "uncomfortable" and "excessive".

As soon as it debuted in cinemas, Poor Things has divided viewers with its graphic sex scenes. Starring Emma Stone, Poor Things tells the fictional story of Bella, a woman who takes her own life and is then brought back to life by a doctor who replaces her brain with the brain of a living baby. As a result, Bella has an infant's mind despite being a physically grown adult.

The film then follows Bella on a journey of discovery as she matures intellectually. This journey includes multiple explicit sex scenes and viewers have criticised them based on Bella's mental age and how shocking they are. In fact, one scene was edited out of the UK version of the film because it was deemed too controversial to be aired in cinemas.

Now, Emma has addressed the backlash and explained why she thinks the sex scenes are a necessary part of the film.

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Emma Stone defends "controversial" sex scenes in Poor Things following criticism
Emma Stone defends "controversial" sex scenes in Poor Things following criticism. Picture: BFA / Searchlight Pictures via Alamy Stock Photo

In a new interview, Emma made clear that she had no issue with filming the scenes and thought they all rang true to Bella.

Emma argued: "Bella is completely free and without shame about her body. So much of this was about being true to Bella's experience. [The sex] is obviously a huge part of her experience and her growth, as it is, I think, for most people in life. But I see it as just one aspect of many - her discovery of food, philosophy, travel and dance. Sex is another aspect."

Emma continued to say: "She doesn't know to be embarrassed by these things or to cover things up or not dive into the full experience when it comes to anything. For the camera to sort of shy away from that, or to say like, OK, we'll just cut all of this out because our society functions in a particular way, it felt like a lack of being honest about who Bella is."

She ended by saying: "I'm not a person that just wants to be naked all the time, but I am someone who wants to honour the character as fully as I possibly can. That's part of her journey."

WARNING: POOR THINGS SPOILERS BELOW

What scene was removed from Poor Things?

In the final half of Poor Things, Bella moves to Paris and becomes a sex worker. In one scene, a client asks Bella to have sex with him in front of his two sons in order to teach them about sex, Bella agrees and the sex scene then unfolds.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) officially requested for director Yorgos Lanthimos to edit the scene out of the film. In a statement on their website, they wrote: "We informed the distributor we would be likely to classify the film 18 on condition that changes be made to one short sequence depicting sexual activity in the presence of children."

They continued: "This is in accordance with the Protection of Children Act 1978. When the distributor submitted the film for formal classification, the scene had been re-edited, and we were able to classify the film 18."

What did you think of the sex scenes in Poor Things?

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