His­tory vs Hol­ly­wood

Does Mary Shel­ley do the Franken­stein au­thor jus­tice?

All About History - - CONTENTS -

Di­rec­tor: Haifaa al-man­sour Star­ring: Elle Fan­ning, Dou­glas Booth, Bel Powley, Maisie Wil­liams and Ben Hardy Coun­try: Ire­land, Lux­em­bourg, United King­dom Re­leased: 2017 01

As the movie de­picts, Mary Shel­ley was the daugh­ter of philoso­phers Mary Woll­stonecraft and Wil­liam God­win. How­ever, she also had an older ma­ter­nal half­sis­ter, Fanny who was raised by God­win af­ter her mother’s death, but is not in­cluded in the film.


Mary re­ally was sent to Scot­land to stay with the Bax­ter fam­ily and she had a dif­fi­cult re­la­tion­ship with her step­mother. Her fa­ther claims in the film that the visit would of­fer her free­dom – it is be­lieved he sent her in real life to dis­cover rad­i­cal pol­i­tics.


Wil­liam God­win re­ally did dis­ap­prove of his daugh­ter’s re­la­tion­ship with Percy, who was al­ready mar­ried, and threat­ened to dis­own her. She was sur­prised and up­set when her fa­ther stuck to his word, but they even­tu­ally rec­on­ciled in later life af­ter Percy’s early death.


Percy, Mary, and her step­sis­ter Claire did in­deed travel to Geneva, Switzer­land, to stay at Lord By­ron’s home, where Shel­ley be­came in­spired to write Franken­stein. The film also ac­cu­rately por­trays Claire fall­ing preg­nant with By­ron’s baby.


Though the film shows the death of Mary’s daugh­ter and men­tions the sui­cide of Percy’s wife, it does not por­tray other darker as­pects of her life, such as Fanny’s sui­cide is not men­tioned de­spite it oc­cur­ring in 1816, the same year that Shel­ley be­gan to write Franken­stein.

Ver­dict Spot­lights one of Eng­land’s great­est writ­ers but fails to dive into the depths of Shel­ley’s fas­ci­nat­ing life

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