Why this shocking sex scene had to be edited out of Emma Stone’s Poor Things for UK release

This article contains spoilers for Poor Things – you have been warned!

Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things is sweeping awards season for its Frankenstein-esque story featuring The Favourite actor Emma Stone.

But viewers in the UK may have a slightly different experience to those in the US, as a shocking sex scene has been edited out due to a child protection law. 

Poor Things, which won Emma Stone a Golden Globe for her performance, centres around Stone’s character Bella Baxter, a woman who dies and is brought back to life by an unorthodox scientist using the brain of a baby. 

The film, based on the 1992 novel by Alasdair Gray, follows Bella’s journey of discovery and freedom, including several sex and masturbation scenes, which Stone described as “very comfortable” due to the film’s “amazing” intimacy coordinator.

Towards the end of the film, Bella moves to Paris where she becomes a sex worker, and one scene shows a man who wants to have sex with her in front of his sons, in order to teach them about sex. 

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), however, requested that this scene be edited for the film’s UK release as in order to achieve an 18 certificate because children can’t be shown in sex scenes.

“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,” the BBFC said on its website.

“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.”

As well as Emma Stone taking home the award for Best Female Actor in a Film – Musical or Comedy during the Golden Globes on Sunday (7 January), Poor Things also won in the Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy category.

Poor Things dropped in UK cinemas on Friday 12 January.

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