Mary Shelley (2018)

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Critic Consensus: Mary Shelley smooths out its subject's fascinating life and fails to communicate the spark of her classic work, undermining fine period detail and a solid Elle Fanning performance.

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MARY SHELLEY 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..

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Cast

Elle Fanning
as Mary Shelley
Douglas Booth
as Percy Bysshe Shelley
Joanne Froggatt
as Mary Jane Clairmont
Maisie Williams
as Isabel Baxter
Stephen Dillane
as William Godwin
Bel Powley
as Claire Clairmont

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Critic Reviews for Mary Shelley

All Critics (114) | Top Critics (28)

The movie is still well executed but, at two hours, not even Fanning's persuasive performance can elevate it to being more than a moderately interesting historical drama.

Jul 12, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

If it falls short of its ambitions, you have to love that it tries to go for the big story, and that it gives Elle Fanning such a grand role at her tender age.

Jul 12, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Fanning holds the screen as someone intent on writing her own destiny.

Jul 6, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The film, though handsome and well-acted, reduces Mary Shelley's accomplishments; it's almost over by the time "Frankenstein" gets written, with little attention paid to its author's creative spark.

Jun 13, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

As it stands, this monstrously inept creation is more terrifying than any scenario the author conjured up.

Jun 8, 2018 | Rating: 0/5 | Full Review…

To make boring the revelries of 19th century literati is no mean feat, but it is "Mary Shelley's" chief accomplishment.

Jun 7, 2018 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

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