Mary Shelley (2017) Movie Script

[projector clicking]
[soft rain pattering]
[crow calling]
[pencil writing]
[Mary breathing softly]
[distant crows calls]
[writing continues]
[Mary whispering
[writing continues]
[gentle dramatic music ]
[writing stops]
[Mary, voiceover] Scarcely
had the demon cast
his burning stare upon her.
Scarcely had...
...the demon cast
his burning stare upon her...
...leaving his face
entirely without symmetry...
...leaving his face
entirely without form...
...and as her fingertips
touched upon his lips,
he melted into her.
[thunder rumbles]
[people chattering]
[horse whinnies]
She's looking for you.
[music fades]
[William] Next time you run
off to read ghost stories,
take me with you.
Who says I was
reading ghost stories?
It's thrilling, isn't it?
My heart was racing,
I was so scared.
If I were you,
I'd be more scared
of your father
catching you reading it.
I don't know how he vexes so.
People liked his Gothic
Your father
is in the bookshop working.
Claire has been tending
to the house.
I have spent all hours
going through the ledgers.
Where were you today
that you couldn't relieve
your father for a few hours?
I completed my work
for today.
I just went out
for some fresh air.
I know where you were.
Look who has returned,
my dear.
I just went out for a walk.
[distant chatter
on the street]
Glad to see you
devoting yourself
to these great works, Mary.
[bell on door jingles]
"To love reading is to have
everything within your reach."
[door opens, closes]
[Man] Payment is over-due, Mr.
Need I remind you of the
conditions of your loan?
Business has been very poor.
Allow me one more month.
[Man] Another month?
It's six months already.
Now, weren't you asking
for a ghost story?
Is it a new one?
[Man] Another month. Understand?
[mysterious music ]
I will rise from the grave... tell the tale of the
treachery I have suffered.
And to seek my revenge!
[people chattering]
[Mary, voiceover]
Scarcely had the demon cast...
...his burning stare
upon her... her icy cheeks...
[Claire whimpering]
[fretting indistinctly]
Claire, Claire. Claire!
It's just a nightmare.
It's all right.
Go back to sleep.
It's all right.
[Claire whimpers]
Go back to sleep.
[clock bells ringing
in the distance]
[quiet, melancholy music ]
[footsteps approaching]
You can't sleep?
Do you miss her?
She was so full of passion.
So full of defiance.
As if she were at war constantly
with everyone and everything.
And enjoying every moment
of the battle.
Warriors like your mother are
never long for this world.
[distant chatter on the
[Mary, voiceover] The Devil's claws
lunged at the maiden's neck.
Sinking his talons...
...deep, deep into her ripe,
pale skin.
Blood dripped...
like tracks in milky snow.
[Mrs. Godwin]
[Mary, voiceover]
She screamed.
[Mrs. Godwin]
Where are you?
No one watching the shop,
and you back here
scribbling away like a child.
Let's see what's so important
that it's kept you
from your work, shall we?
It is private.
What thoughts
haunt the daughter
of these esteemed writers?
Let go!
She pushed me!
- Did you not see her-
- I didn't do anything.
You all right?
I can't live
with someone like this.
There's not a grain
of respect in her.
- [Mary] I didn't do anything!
- That's enough. That's enough.
[Godwin, voiceover]
He's an old friend.
Mr. Baxter is as firm
a believer in education
as I am.
You'll find his house
very comfortable.
[Mary, voiceover]
[Godwin, voiceover] I'm sending you
away because I love you, Mary.
And because I sincerely hope
that you'll find the refuge
that you need there.
[melancholy music ]
Also that the solitude
will give you time
for introspection.
Your writing...
...this is the work
of an imitator.
Rid yourself of
the thoughts and words
of other people, Mary.
Find your own voice.
[birds singing]
Mary! Welcome.
Oh, my God, you look so much
like your mother.
And, thank the Lord,
not a thing like your father.
I'm William Baxter.
This is my daughter Isabel.
We'll do our best to keep you
amused out here, Mary.
It may not be
as bustling as London,
but I'm sure we can find
some ways to pass the time.
The night is so different here.
How do people sleep
with all this silence?
Come on, I know
just where to go.
I've thought of trying
to summon my mother... sance.
[branches crackling]
But she suffered so long
with illness...
...what if she has finally
found peace at last?
Wouldn't it be cruel
to disturb her?
Do you think
it could really work,
reaching the dead?
[insects chirping]
I already feel her presence.
I miss her so much.
Not a day goes by
when I don't think of her.
Would you ever consider
trying to contact your mother?
Maybe she wouldn't
want me to.
Given I was the one
who killed her.
She died just days
after I was born.
Oh, Mary.
[wind rustles]
[mysterious music ]
[water rushing]
[pleasant, dramatic music ]
I love it in Scotland.
Nothing is as I expected
it would be.
You've only been here
a few weeks.
Give it time.
In London it's not often
we have occasion
to picnic by the river.
Your mistake is waiting
for an occasion.
[wind rustling]
[Coleridge, reciting] I looked upon
the rotting sea And drew my eyes away
I looked upon the rotting deck
And there the dead men lay
I looked to Heaven
and tried to pray
But before a prayer had gushed
A wicked whisper came...
[Baxter] Come in. Come in.
You must be freezing.
If I could just give you
a couple of my essays.
[Servant woman
speaks indistinctly]
My contribution to this
evening's entertainment.
- [Baxter] How are you?
- [Shelley] Good. How's the party?
Isabel... who is that?
Oh, that's Shelley.
Beautiful, isn't he?
He's a radical poet.
He thinks poetry
should reform society,
and so he's often in trouble.
Sounds like quite a catch.
Come, let me introduce you
to some friends.
[Baxter] There is someone
I would like you to meet.
Good luck.
Percy, may I present Mary.
Baxter! Come and join us!
Oh, it's Coleridge.
Mary, could you put
these nameplates out, please?
[party chatter]
Let me get those for you.
I'm Percy Bysshe Shelley.
I am
Mary Wollstonecraft-Godwin.
Of course.
Baxter mentioned you'd
be joining the family here.
I am a great admirer
of both your parents' work.
[Mary] I hope I can entrust you
to this task, Mr. Shelley.
Or will you try to incite me
to revolution?
My reputation precedes me.
Won't you welcome a change
from the deafening quiet?
I've grown accustomed to it.
In London I spend most of my
time in my father's bookshop.
So the deafening quiet is not
as dramatic as you may think.
Baxter does his best
for these gatherings.
Any lover of poetry will surely
find a great thrill in the work
that is being presented here.
So surely
you are a writer yourself?
Not really.
Nothing substantial.
I hope to, someday.
And what, may I ask,
would you constitute
as "substantial" in your eyes?
Anything that curdles the blood
and quickens the beatings
of the heart.
Ah, perfect!
Now may I
steal Mr. Shelley away?
We would love a poem, sir.
Certainly, sir.
Without an audience, ideas
remain mere words on a page.
[Servant woman]
Mr. Shelley, your essay.
Oh, I have no need for those.
Thank you.
I shall trust in the spark
of new found inspiration.
[guests chattering]
Oh, not the visioned poet
in his dreams
When silvery clouds float
through the wildered brain
When every sight of lovely,
wild and grand
So bright... fair, so wild a shape
Hath ever yet beheld
As that which reined
the coursers of the air
And poured the magic
of her gaze
Upon the maiden's sleep
[dramatic, romantic music ]
[guests chatter]
[Coleridge, reciting]
Alone, alone
All alone
Upon the wide, wide sea
And God will not take pity
on my soul in agony
- This weather.
- Ah, stop complaining.
It's Scotland,
what do you expect?
So I say to you, if all
things come from God...
...and we all come from God,
are we not part of God?
When we think, do we not
behold the very thoughts of God?
Can't say I feel like
much of a god.
Your body is tired, Baxter,
but your spirit,
it longs to soar.
What of you, Miss Godwin?
Do you think you are of God... the great
poet Coleridge?
[birds chirping]
I'll admit...
...I thought Coleridge
was much more captivating
when I was a child.
There you go.
I'm surprised you can
remember back that far.
[Coleridge] Behold the
majesty of God's creation...
Well just how old are you then,
dear ancient one?
Old enough to know
why you are asking.
[Coleridge] It's inspirational,
don't you think?
- I'm 16.
- Hmm.
How about you?
A wise old man indeed.
[Shelley, voiceover] As mountain
springs under the morning sun
We shall become the same
We shall be one spirit
within two frames
Oh, wherefore two?
One passion in twin hearts
which grows and grew
Till like two meteors
of expanding flame
Those spheres instinct
with it become the same
Touch, mingle
Are transfigured ever still
[knock on the door]
Burning, yet inconsumable
[gentle, melancholy music ]
...I'm afraid I have some
terrible news from London.
It's your sister Claire.
May I ask you...
...could you tell Mr. Shelley
I said goodbye?
Of course.
Was Scotland everything
I said it would be?
Were you happy?
I was.
You will live again, Mary.
You have your mother's spirit.
You won't be confined for long.
She's been like this for weeks.
Thank God!
You're finally back!
So you aren't dying?
Only from boredom.
You mean you weren't sick
at all?
Well... maybe a little bit.
[light music ]
[Shelley, voiceover]
Poor captive bird!
Who, from thy narrow cage
Pourest such music,
that it might assuage
The rugged hearts of those
who prisoned thee
Were they not deaf towards
sweet melody
This song shall be thy rose,
its petals pale
Are dead, indeed,
my adored Nightingale!
[horse whinnies]
It seems my mother's
latest reverie
is a young protg
for your father.
We are all to be
on our best behavior
at dinner tonight
to win him over.
He's wealthy, evidently.
She's a woman
of indomitable hope,
I can't deny her that.
[Godwin clears his throat]
Mr. Percy Shelley,
may I present Mrs. Godwin,
my wife.
And our children,
William, Claire and Mary.
My husband tells me
you're a poet, Mr Shelley.
He speaks very highly
of your work.
Well, I am humbled
by his praise, Mrs. Godwin.
I must admit, though, my work
is not yet widely known.
Although I have just completed
my second volume which...
...awaits publication.
[Godwin] Very impressive
achievement for such a young man.
[Shelley] Any achievement of
mine falls within the shadow
of your influence, Mr. Godwin.
You flatter me.
[Shelley] Hope you will
consider my proposal
to take me on as your protg.
I have a considerable allowance
at my disposal...
...and would gladly reimburse you
for any time you might spare.
Well, I feel duty bound to...
...foster such ability.
Well then, that's settled.
How fortunate we are
to be in the presence
of two great minds.
[Mrs. Godwin] You must see
our bookshop, Mr. Shelley.
[Godwin] I have a copy of "The
Iliad" in the original Greek.
Perhaps Mary will show it
to you after dinner.
How are you here?
Does it seem so strange that
I would seek out the tutelage
of the great William Godwin?
Clearly I'm not only here
to see your father.
Then why are you here?
To once again feel
the curdling of my blood
and the quickening of the
beatings of my heart.
Mr. Shelley?
Your father would like
to see Mr. Shelley.
Thank you.
I will be with him momentarily.
I'm quite enjoying the,
uh, collection.
So I see.
[both chuckle]
As I was saying,
both your parents are a great
source of inspiration to me.
My mother died
when I was ten days old.
I'm sorry, I had no idea.
Don't be sorry.
I love to talk about her.
Even if I never truly knew her.
All of the contradictions
she embodied.
All anyone ever talks about... is how she wanted
to go off
and live with a married man
and his wife... a mnage trois.
And what do you think about...
...all that?
I have no problem with it.
People should live and love
as they wish.
But one thing I've never
understood is...
...why did two radicals
such as your parents
succumb to marriage?
To legitimize me.
Meet me...
Just tell me where.
There is a place I go alone.
I'm not sure
what you'll make of it.
[delicate, dramatic music ]
My sanctuary of sorts.
[Shelley] Then it will
be my sanctuary, too.
I come here whenever I can.
Just to feel her embrace.
My father taught me to read... tracing the letters
of her name.
[wind blowing]
I don't know what it is
I'm waiting for here.
Maybe you're just waiting
for someone to reach out and...
...return your embrace.
[thunder rolling]
[Mary panting]
I thought we would never
escape the rain.
I think I'd rather suffer
the deluge outside.
If God is everywhere,
then why must Man
erect temples to Him?
Because it is your imagination
that is the instrument
of moral good,
not these four walls.
Let's see if the Great Creator
strikes us down.
You shall fear
the Lord your God.
Thrones, altars...
...judgement seats,
and prisons,
they are all part of one
gigantic, despotic system...
...designed to crush
the soul of Man.
Their empty covenant
has no power over us.
I fear not of God,
or His henchmen on Earth.
[distant thud]
Someone's here.
[distant thud]
[Shelley] So the Judgement
Day is upon us already.
Is anyone there?
[laughing quietly]
[music swells ]
[music fades]
Oh, Mr. Shelley,
it is a real book.
Your name looks so good
in that gold typeface.
I'm sure it will be
more popular
than your treatise
on the virtues of atheism.
[Godwin] Ghost stories and romance
novels might sell, my dear,
but it's books that
challenge the common doctrine
and superstition
that will truly endure.
We rely on brave works
like this
to push the world out of
its misery and delusion.
Well done, sir.
I hope you like it,
Miss Godwin.
I'm sure I will.
[Shelley, whispering]
Read it when you're alone.
Oh, give it to me!
Give it to me.
Please, Mary.
"The sunlight clasp the Earth
And the moonbeams
kiss the sea
What are
all these kissings worth..."
"If thou kiss not me?"
Miss Godwin?
[people chattering]
I am Mrs. Shelley.
Harriet Shelley.
And this is Ianthe,
our daughter.
[quiet, dramatic music ]
How can I help you,
Mrs. Shelley?
I am searching for my husband.
He's not here.
My father works alone today.
I cannot help you any further.
Miss Godwin!
Stay away from Percy.
I have not seen him in weeks
but I have heard rumors.
Surely a wife of Mr. Shelley
would be impervious to gossip?
Evidently you are a stranger
to scandal, Miss Godwin.
Did you know I ran away
with Percy when I was a girl?
Idealism and love
give us courage.
But they do not prepare you
for the sacrifice
required to love a man
like Percy.
Your husband
is my father's student.
Nothing more.
If I see Mr. Shelley,
I will let him know
you are looking for him.
Goodbye, Mrs. Shelley.
[bell on door chimes]
[music fades]
Your wife is very pretty,
Mr. Shelley.
I didn't know you were married.
Yes, I've been married
for five years now.
[Mrs. Godwin]
Well, well.
We look forward
to meeting Mrs. Shelley.
Perhaps she would like to
join us for dinner one evening?
[Shelley] Your offer is
most kind, Mrs. Godwin.
However, Mrs. Shelley and I
are man and wife in name...
I continue to provide
for Harriet
and my daughter Ianthe
financially but that is all.
It is an intolerable tyranny... bind husband and wife
to cohabitation
after the decay
of their affection.
I remember saying something
like that when I was young.
How could you do such a thing?
- What did I do?
- You told her.
I had to.
How could you not speak
of Harriet and Ianthe?
My marriage was a mistake.
I believed that I'd found
in Harriet a kindred spirit.
But time revealed only
an empty, heartless cynicism
that consumed the both of us
in a spiral of hate and anguish.
But when I met you...
...for the first time since
my marriage, I felt alive.
And had you known
I was married,
propriety would have gotten
the better of you.
Propriety has never
been a concern of mine.
I promise you it can
be very easy to say that,
but it can be very different
to live it.
Which is what I challenge you
to do now.
You challenge me to what?
- To do what-
- Shh!
To do what your heart
is telling you to do
and to come away with me.
And let us both find... air to fill our lungs.
[quiet, dramatic music ]
A new sun to warm our faces.
See a new life that is
actually worth the living...
[Mary] The air in this
house was stifling
long before Shelley,
but the fact
that he comes here every day
makes it even less bearable.
Feels like I'm suffocating.
I just want to get away.
At least you went to Scotland.
I've never been anywhere.
Next time we'll
go somewhere together.
We'll set off around the world,
just you and me.
And we'll meet amazing people
and go to wonderful places.
And none of this,
or any of these people,
will matter at all.
They won't mean a thing.
I promise.
I can't imagine anything
more wonderful.
[clock tower bell ringing]
Done so soon, Mr. Shelley?
I thought you and Mr. Godwin
would be working
through the afternoon.
I'm afraid I don't feel up
to much of anything today,
Mrs. Godwin.
Mr. Shelley seems
to be suffering
from some sort of
emotional anguish.
Perhaps he was disappointed
to find that... do not cultivate the
same public feats of wantonness
as your dear departed mother.
I would ask that you not
speak ill of my mother.
Oh, but of course.
How dare anyone utter one
word out of turn
about a deceased person
of such eminent merit?
At least you have not inherited
that strange deficit of hers.
That foolish impulsiveness
which mistook wretchedness
with emancipation.
I have inherited nothing
but a fire in my soul
and I will no longer allow you,
or anyone else, to contain it.
Are you really involved
with that whoremonger?
I hope those rumors
prove to be false.
Just when we have found
an avenue for our salvation,
you go and turn our fortunes
into yet another scandal.
Do you believe I care at all
for my reputation?
Or yours?
I fear nothing but letting
your meaningless words
scare me away from my desires.
[dramatic music ]
[Shelley, voiceover]
The sunlight clasps the Earth
And the moonbeams
kiss the sea
What are
all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?
What do you mean?
But you're already married.
We love each other.
We don't need to be married.
[Mrs. Godwin]
I told you your warped ideals
would come back to haunt us.
Mrs. Godwin, please.
We are only living
by your beliefs.
- Your principles.
- What do you know of living your beliefs?
You had no problem
with my mother
wanting to live
out of wedlock.
Do you really think
you can withstand
the consequences of this?
Your mother was tortured
by her impulses.
The very passions she thought
were holding her together
were working just as
diligently to tear her apart.
Don't let them get the better
of you, Mary.
And you forget whatever fantasy
you've woven with my daughter.
Are you really suggesting
I could only be with your
daughter if we were married?
How dare you?
Come into my house,
you accept my hospitality
and seduce
my 16 year old daughter!
Is it not you
accepting my money?
Go back to your wife!
Never set foot
in this house again.
My love, I will return for you.
If you ever
see Mr. Shelley again,
prepare to lose the love
of a father, forever.
[music fades]
[Claire, whispering]
Don't look back, Mary.
Remember, once you are gone...
...none of this,
or any of these people,
will matter at all.
But please, Mary,
take me with you.
You promised next time
we would go together.
[dog barking]
[carriage approaching]
I hope I haven't kept you
waiting long!
[mysterious, dramatic music]
I guess you come as a pair.
I couldn't leave her.
Where are we going?
To St. Pancras.
[joyful screaming]
It's down here.
[Mary squeals]
Thank you.
[gentle, dramatic music ]
It is temporary, of course.
Well, where will I sleep?
Try through there.
I am going to find us
a house...
...and I intend it
to be perfect.
It already is perfect.
I have you.
Wherever we're together
is where I belong.
Are you sure, Mary?
Only if you are ready,
my love.
[airy, dramatic music ]
[Mary, voiceover] I'm free
to write what I please.
Like a torrent of light
poured into a dark world.
All around me I see bliss,
'cause I now know what it is
to love...
[Shelley, voiceover]
Its very essence is liberty.
[Mary, voiceover]
...and be loved.
[Shelley, voiceover] It is comparable
neither with obedience, jealousy nor fear.
It is there, most pure,
perfect and unlimited.
...close round the dying girl.
[pretending to choke]
Out and in they hurry and spin
and dance, through the dance.
They dance
through the weary Whirl.
Patience, patience,
though my heart is breaking.
God, there is no
of thy body thou art
quit and free.
Heaven keep thy soul eternally!
I trust you've enjoyed
the last of the claret?
Would it be unwise to ask how
it went today?
My publishers are fools.
Don't let them upset you.
They're not worth it.
But their advance is worth
everything, Mary.
My father has cut me off.
He says I've disgraced
his name
because of the scandal
that surrounds us.
So now you know.
[crowd chattering]
[Godwin] This one. Is
that of any interest?
Not interested in those.
What else do you have?
Well, 'Iliad' by Homer
in the original Greek.
It's been weeks.
You're selling it?
Yes. There comes a time
when we all
have to let go of the
things we hold dear.
It's your decision, Mary,
and you must live with it.
He claims to love humanity
yet forsakes his child.
I wish nothing more than that
you should thrive.
But, look at you.
So, do you want to sell it?
Erasmus Darwin once wrote...
Who is Erasmus Darwin?
A poet and a physician.
He once wrote that a man who has never
tried an experiment in his life is a fool.
[faint conversation]
...on my sister's cat.
[Claire] Oh Shelley, you didn't!
[Shelley] No, I didn't. I have
the claw marks to prove it.
What's going on?
I remembered a debt unpaid.
I know how much
you love science, Mary.
Watch this.
This is incredible.
And this is for you.
You shouldn't have spent
money on dresses.
Don't be silly, Mary,
it's beautiful.
That is not all.
Tomorrow we move to our
new house in Bloomsbury.
- The servants will meet us there.
- Servants!
Because how can we write if
we are forced to tend
to such domestic mundanities
as the shopping
and the cleaning.
You make everything
seem possible.
- It's a step up from St. Pancras.
- Welcome home, Mary.
Wait for me!
Come on.
[dramatic, romantic music ]
[soft moaning]
[Mary, voiceover] A day
devoted to love and idleness
but despite my earthly paradise I
feel a frustration born of guilt.
A constant whisper that I am no
closer to achieving my dreams.
Excuse me,
are you the poet Shelley?
Yes. Yes, I am.
- Would you sign my pocketbook?
- Of course.
Our friends will be
terribly jealous.
Well, have a good day.
My love, I have news.
Oh, my Mary. Hey, a baby.
What news!
- You're happy?
- Of course I'm happy.
Why? Aren't you?
I've never had a mother.
What if I fail?
You think we can only learn
by example?
What of pure instinct? Of the
inherent good that lies in all of us?
And that, my darling,
you have in abundance.
- As will our little girl.
- You think it's a girl?
She will be our
very own prodigy.
Ianthe, come here.
Good girl.
[quiet, melancholy music ]
Come, we have to go.
[Claire's voice, echoing] Take
me with you, please, take me.
Please, Mary,
take me with you.
Take me with you.
[Baby crying]
There is someone in my room.
Someone? Did you see him?
No. They...
- No one, nothing.
- [Mary] It's one of your nightmares, Claire.
- I will sit with her.
- [Shelley] No, no, I will take her to bed.
You need to rest. Think of the baby.
Claire, come on.
[quiet, mysterious music ]
She sleeps. Finally.
[birds chirping]
And you should, too.
I love you, Mary.
[dishes clattering]
Allow me to do it.
Absolutely no clue.
[Shelley] I can't tell if you're
telling the truth or not.
I am telling the truth.
[Shelley] Who's paying for it?
I'm paying for it?
[Shelley] You're gonna ruin me, Claire
Clairmont. You're gonna ruin me.
- [Mary] What's all this for?
- Oh, there you are. Guess what.
Tonight we are having
a dinner party.
Come here. Don't we deserve
a little fun?
My dear, dear friend Thomas Hogg is in town
and has just published his first book.
So I thought we would throw
him a party to celebrate.
Ma'am, how many guests are we
expecting this evening?
Maybe 10.
10 or 12?
Did the publisher's advance
come in?
I borrowed against
my father's estate.
Percy, there's no way we can
afford to pay it back.
Come on... come here. Come.
I'm sorry it's not much of
a celebration, Mr Hogg.
It appears we're even more
scandalous than we realized.
Don't trouble yourself, Mary.
Shelley and I have a long
history of courting trouble.
We began writing a novel
together back at Oxford but
publishers deemed it
too subversive.
We had more success with our
treatise which we wrote anonymously:
'The Necessity of Atheism'.
- Because it was published?
- Because it resulted in our expulsion from Oxford.
I'm beginning to suspect you have
a penchant for being anonymous.
What's the point of being published if you
don't have your name on it? Why bother?
I assume you also write?
It's not anything
like my parents.
Soon Mary will produce a work
that will surpass all of us.
How about you,
Miss Clairmont?
Do you write or are there
other tricks you perform?
I have my own talents.
- Claire is an accomplished singer.
- So she says.
I'm yet to hear it.
Will you sing for us?
I will sing, and if you
happen to overhear
I suppose,
it can't be helped.
She has spirit this one,
I can see why you keep her.
A sweet scented courtier did
give me a kiss
And promised me rightly that
I would be his
But I'll not believe him for
it is too true
Courtiers promise much more
than they do
My thing is my own
That I'll keep it so still
Other young lassies can do
what they will
[door knocks]
Ma'am, Mr. Hogg...
is here to see you.
Mr. Hogg?
Thank you, Eliza.
Shelley will be sorry to have missed you.
Would you care to wait?
I should like that very much,
- Are you hungry?
- I'm fine, thank you.
You're writing?
Ledgers. But it might
as well be Latin.
- Are you schooled in Latin?
- Yes, my father insisted upon it.
Why don't you sit down?
I fear my Latin is not what
it was when I was at Oxford.
May I...
practice upon you Mary?
[Mary] I'm not sure I'd
be of much use to you.
My mind is all over the place
these days.
[quiet, ominous music ]
Perhaps you should practice
upon me.
[Claire] I cannot believe you fired
the servant for that, Shelley.
Who do you think you are?
What's wrong?
Is it the baby?
Claire, could you
please leave us?
Hogg came to the house.
And then
- ...he made an advance, but I didn't, I-
- So you did not comply?
Of course not.
I would never-
Mary. Hey.
I have no quarrel with you
and Thomas becoming lovers.
Isn't this what
we believe in?
Unconventional approaches
to living?
After all, why should we not have such
an arrangement? I do not own you.
You are free to be with
whomever you please.
Oh, but I don't want to be
with anyone else.
Don't you believe that love
is free?
- Yes. Free to be with one person...
- That is poor logic, Mary.
Your choice means
nothing to me.
What disappoints me is that
you wouldn't even consider it.
Leads me to question how much
you value your beliefs
when you will not
attempt to live them.
I believe, with all my heart, there
are all sorts of ways of living.
And I will fight for anyone's
right to live accordingly.
But my truth is that there
is no one else for me.
Do you wish to be with
someone else?
I merely suggest that you do not offer
me the same freedoms I offer you.
You're a hypocrite.
Like your father.
And you are nothing close to the
man that I thought you were.
[Mary, voiceover] Wanting for my 'happily
ever after', I lowered my defenses
forgetting the first lesson
I was taught:
that I was brought into this
world to be abandoned.
That I am irrevocably alone.
[pencil writing]
[knock on the door]
[dramatic, melancholy music ]
Are you not cold, Mary?
My hypocrisy keeps me warm.
As does my cloak
of disappointment.
I'm going to tell Hogg not to
call here again.
I already told him
with my fist.
You have to understand,
Mary, that...
...I have always
lived this way... to a fault.
And I thought this was
something we both believed in.
An ideal we shared.
But had I truly considered it, and I let
myself fully understand what I was doing
I would never let anything...
anything come between us.
I have a surprise for you.
We're going out.
[door knocks]
Well, what are
you waiting for?
Phantasmagoria. Starring
Claire Clairmont,
yours truly.
It's Lord Byron.
Let us go and talk to him.
Lord Byron!
My Lord...
may I introduce to you
the poet
Percy Bysshe Shelley and a
great admirer of your work.
I know Mr. Shelley.
I enjoyed "Queen Mab".
- Credit to you.
- Thank you.
And now our final act,
Mr. Brycison the Galvanizer.
Who amongst you has ever wondered
if the dead could return to life?
Thanks to scientific discovery, mankind
is on the cusp of conquering mortality.
Using this frog
and an electrical current
I will demonstrate how muscular stimulation
is possible via electrical means.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce
you to the process of galvanism.
[crowd gasps]
[airy, dramatic music ]
Is that really possible? That the
dead could come back to life?
There is every possibility.
That has brought you
back to life.
Oh, Clara, you are
so beautiful... and tiny.
Did you ever see
such tiny hands?
She's so beautiful.
Almost as beautiful as you,
my love.
Mary, can I get you anything?
I have all I need.
And what a trio we will be.
Yes, she agrees.
[Shelley] You agree?
We're gonna be a trio.
You're gonna be our special
little prodigy. Yeah.
[light, mysterious music ]
[Mary singing quietly]
[Mary, voiceover] I can scarcely believe
that one small being can be responsible
for such joy.
Is all that is truly required
is that we live well, be happy,
and make others so?
Over the hills and far...
She's sleeping.
We must leave at once.
What do you mean?
What has happened?
Creditors are coming.
- Percy. Clara's not well.
- Mary, we do not have time to discuss this.
It's raining outside.
[door banging]
We can't take her. The doctor
said she must keep warm.
[Clara crying]
We have no choice.
Claire, are you ready?
do not tell them anything.
[dramatic music ]
[pounding on the door]
Mary. Come.
We must get back
to St. Pancras.
They won't find us there.
[Clara coughing]
Mary, please.
[Clara crying, coughing]
She needs shelter now.
[Shelley, whispering]
it breaks my heart to see you
like this.
The doctor told you, Clara
was never for this world.
What about your books?
I mean surely there is something
you would like to read?
The books?
The books survived the
creditors, didn't they?
I miss her, too, Mary.
Desperately. But I don't
want to lose you as well.
Leave me alone.
[fire crackling]
[church bells]
[melancholy dramatic music ]
[Shelley, voiceover] Rose
leaves, when the rose is dead
Are heaped
for the beloved's bed
And so thy thoughts
When thou art gone
Love itself shall slumber on
[Mary, voiceover] Tommy
was a piper's son
He learned to play
when he was young
The only tune
that he could play
[baby wails]
[dramatic music swells ]
[Mary, voiceover] You'll come
to me in dreams, my love.
I will not ask a
dearer bliss.
I dreamed of her last night.
That we lit a fire in the fireplace and the
fire's warmth nursed her back to life.
[door creaks]
[Claire] My love, I haven't
seen you smile at me in weeks.
[Man] Oh, Claire.
- He invited you to Geneva?
- No, Mary. Lord Byron has invited us.
- Us?
- You, me and Shelley. All of us.
Do you think you are the only
one who can attract a poet?
No, Claire. In fact I am
very aware of your abilities.
But... we have to go.
I am pregnant.
Who's the father?
Mary. Mary, it is Byron's,
of course.
I've been meeting him in secret
for quite some time now.
Don't you see?
Geneva will give me the chance to talk
to him, away from the crowds of London.
I mean you, of all people, should
know that this city loves a scandal.
[footsteps approaching]
Shelley, we've been invited
to Geneva by Lord Byron.
Lord Byron? Oh my word!
This is
an unmissable opportunity.
This could help us immensely.
- [Claire speaks indistinctly]
- I'm not ready for this.
Percy, I don't think I'm
ready for this. Please.
- Not yet.
- Oh, Mary, I miss her too.
I wish I could have saved her.
I'm not asking you to let go
of her, Mary.
I'm just asking you to raise
above your grief.
To raise her spirit to the
great heights she deserves.
[children playing
in the distance]
[dramatic music ]
Thank you.
I was surprised to hear you
were staying here?
Most tourists come to gawk at
the place.
We've become accustomed to prying eyes
ourselves. I'm sure we'll manage.
Mr. Shelley!
It is a pleasure to make
your acquaintance once more.
I received Miss Clairmont's letter yesterday
alerting me of this impending arrival.
My Lord, it is an honor. And may I
introduce Miss Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin?
Miss Godwin.
Forgive me but there is a smile
hidden inside of you, I can see it.
And it is
beautiful and brutal.
And I hope that before long I
can coax it outside of you.
And there she is.
My Lord.
Claire, I must remember next time
that to mention travel plans to you
is tantamount
to an invitation.
My Lord, I apologize. I fear
there's been some confusion.
If our visit is an imposition,
we will seek lodging elsewhere.
Please, don't concern yourselves.
You must stay here as my guest.
Things have been getting
bloody boring round here and I
will be grateful
for the distraction.
In fact there is the Duke of
Dulldom himself, Doctor Polidori.
Come with me.
Doctor Polidori, Miss Godwin.
She doesn't smile.
Charmed, Miss Godwin.
Don't embarrass the servants.
Are you a Doctor of Science,
Doctor Polidori?
- I'm sorry, but I'm a physician.
- Science fascinates Mary.
Why is being a physician disappointing.
You save lives.
You bring babies
into the world.
You help poets with their
sleeping disorders.
Doctor Polidori wrote
his thesis on the subject.
And, conveniently, I've become quite
the somnambulist in his presence.
Well, I hope we can liven things
up for you a little, My Lord.
I'm sure you will try,
Miss Clairmont.
Would you like to join me in
the parlor, Mr. Shelley?
Of course.
Perhaps you'll be more
comfortable conversing with
Claire and Doctor Polidori,
my love.
I must say,
the decor is interesting.
Byron likes to record
his 'grand ideas'
on slips of paper and tack
them up on the wall.
You should see the one
in the parlor.
Gets littered with paper when we have
company, or when he's stimulated.
[airy, dramatic music ]
This is poetry, my brother.
'On Death' by the
incomparable yours truly.
Third stanza!
Summon the muse.
[imitating monkey]
The world is the nurse
of all we know
This world the mother
of all we feel
And the coming of death
is a fearful blow
To the brain unencompassed
with nerves of steel
When all we know
or feel
or see
Shall pass like an
unreal mystery!
[Polidori] I found this article and
recalled your interest in science.
Is this possible?
That is the claim. Applying the principle
of galvanism to human corpses.
Every lady in the land
knows this.
She walks in beauty
Like the night...
of cloudless
Climes and starry skies
And all that's bright
Of dark and light
- What?!
- Bright! Bright, bright, bright!
All that's best of
dark and bright
Meet in the aspect
of her eyes
That's mellow to
thy tender light Which
heaven to gaudy day deny
[Polidori] I was sorry
to hear about your baby.
Her name was Clara.
I don't mean to upset you.
No. No, you haven't at all.
I thank you for speaking
of her.
It's an unspeakable cruelty
for a woman to lose a child.
I've seen it more times than
I care to remember.
I'm in awe of you,
Miss Godwin
and your strength
to survive it.
Drink. Drink.
Why not?
Why would I not be sure?
It's called 'The Nightmare -
The Curse Of The Incubus'.
The Angel fallen from grace
because of insatiable lust.
You know the painter,
don't you?
Henry Fuseli.
He was my mother's
first love.
She tried to kill herself
with an overdose of laudanum
when he left her for
another woman.
I've never reconciled how
someone as strong as my mother
was so vulnerable when it
came to love.
Love will find its way through paths
where wolves would fear to prey.
[Mary] But if she wasn't impervious
to the pain of heartbreak
what hope is there for the
rest of us?
The great art of
life is sensation.
To feel that you exist,
even in pain.
I mean would you
not die for love?
After all, what is life if it
does not have love?
according to you poets.
You are...
I've always believed
that a woman
should be intelligent enough to
understand what I'm saying but
not intelligent enough to be able to
form ideas or opinions of her own.
You, Miss Godwin, have the
chance to prove me wrong.
[piano crash]
Play us a tune, Shelley.
Oh, this infernal copying.
I'm bored of it.
I can't transcribe another
word of these poems.
It's been raining like this
for weeks.
We're all going to go insane.
Can't anyone think of ways to
pass the time?
- Mary, please.
- No. She's right.
[wind howling]
There are witches
in the wind.
I have an idea.
We are, each one of us,
to write a story.
A ghost story.
It's a competition,
of course.
Whoever writes the
finest story shall win.
[Lord Byron, voiceover]
Miss Clairmont... you...
...your job is to
transcribe them.
How dare you?
What right do you have to treat
me like this? Your lover.
Claire... are not my lover.
You are a dalliance.
A lapse in judgement.
A silly little girl.
I'm sorry,
have I caused a scene?
[airy, dramatic music ]
Sir, I have an urgent message
arrived from London.
Is everything alright, sir?
why must they be so vile?
Don't let such
cruelty wound you.
You're stronger than you
realize and you don't need
anything from them.
You don't need anything
from them.
Thank you, Mary.
- I need to speak to you.
- [Byron] No!
[Mary, voiceover] I no longer see the
world and its works as they before
appeared to me.
But now misery has come home...
and men appear to me as monsters
thirsting for each other's blood.
And I, a miserable spectacle
of wrecked humanity...
pitiable to others and
intolerable to myself.
Has Claire risen?
She sent down word. She is
feeling unwell this morning.
Where is Shelley?
I had assumed
he was with you.
[Shelley stumbling]
I think we've found him.
Mr. Shelley.
You look like you could do
with some breakfast.
Do I?
How were the taverns?
I, uh,
I started upon my story.
I've called it 'The Vampyre'.
Very well. Well we have our
first story.
A vampire.
I thought the challenge
was a-was a ghost story?
Not a childish superstition.
You do not believe in
vampires, Mr. Shelley?
No more than I believe
in physicians.
Percy, that's quite enough.
I thought you would
know intimately
about the existence of nocturnal
beings who exploit the vulnerable.
- Did you just slap him?
- Madam, you have my sympathy.
No story from Polidori.
How disappointing.
Whatever shall we do to
entertain ourselves now?
Well I'm going to go riding.
I need something thick
between my legs.
What's wrong with you?
You think I'm an idiot.
Oh, you claim no interest
in Hogg. That's alright.
But the good doctor,
oh yes, he's more to your
liking, isn't he?
Where were you all night?
I do not have to justify
myself to you or to anyone!
- You have no idea the responsibilities I bear.
- What responsibilities?
She drowned herself, Mary.
Threw herself in the filthy
water at Battersea.
My wife.
[gentle, dramatic music ]
It's time that we
left this place.
He doesn't want me.
He said...
he said that he will provide
for the baby but that is all.
It's been such a mistake.
A mistake.
I wanted to say goodbye
to thank you
for your hospitality.
I know what you
must think of me
but I have never considered
myself one for fatherhood.
I am under no illusions about
your situation.
Claire, unfortunately...
I never loved her.
Nor did I pretend
to love her.
Nor do I believe
she loved me.
But a man is a man,
and a girl is a girl.
And when a young girl comes prancing
to an old man at all hours...
...there is but one way.
There is always another way.
And when we make such choices,
there are inevitably consequences.
Always see.
Safe travels, Mary.
I look forward to reading
your work some day.
[Godwin, voiceover] Rid yourself of the
thoughts and words of other people, Mary.
Find your own voice.
[Mary, voiceover] It was a
dreary night of November and...
It was a dreary night
of November
that I beheld the
accomplishment of my toils.
[dramatic music rising ]
Remember that
I am thy creature.
I ought to be thy Adam but I
am rather the fallen angel
whom thou drivest from joy
for no misdeed.
Everywhere I see bliss...
...from which...
[match strike]
...from which, from which I
alone am irrevocably excluded.
I was benevolent and good
Misery made me a fiend
Make me happy.
And I shall again
be virtuous.
"But soon", he cried
"I shall die
and what I now feel be no
longer felt.
these burning miseries will
be extinct.
I shall ascend my funeral
pyre triumphantly
and exult in the agony of the
torturing flames.
My spirit will sleep in peace
or if it thinks
it will not surely
think thus.
The End.
[Shelley, whispering]
Mary. Mary.
It is magnificent.
It exceeds even what I
believed you capable of.
It has so much potential.
I just have one question.
The doctor, he gets all
these body parts
and he sews them together in order
to make the most perfect creature
But when he brings it to life, essentially
what he has created is a kind of monster.
Well couldn't it be something
more- something more hopeful?
Imagine if he could create the
perfect being. Um, an angel.
An angel?!
Yes, and in doing so he could
show what Man can be.
He creates a version of ourselves
that shines with goodness
and thus, thus delivers
a message for mankind.
It is a message for mankind.
Well I, I mean a message of
hope and of perfection.
What would you- what would we
know of hope and perfection?
Look around you.
Look at the mess we've made.
Look at me.
It makes sense this way.
- I'll take it to my publisher and convince...
- No. I will go alone.
[door closes]
You are how old, Miss Godwin?
I am 18.
That really is quite young.
If I'm old enough to bear children,
I'm old enough to put pen to paper.
Curious subject matter for a
young lady, wouldn't you say?
And when that young lady just
happens to be the wife, uh...
companion of Mr. Shelley...
Are you suggesting the work
belongs to Mr. Shelley?
Well, perhaps there are some other writings
of yours that I could compare it to?
It is my story.
Did you ask this of Mr. Shelley when
he first presented his work to you?
Or do you save this insult
for young women?
And you dare to question a woman's
ability to experience loss, death...
All of which is present in this story.
In my story.
Which you would have realized if you'd
employed the time judging the work
instead of judging me.
[carriage passing]
[door closes]
Did you finish it?
It chilled me to the bone.
It's good to enjoy a ghost
story now and then.
We both know this is
no ghost story.
I've never read such a perfect encapsulation
of what it feels to be abandoned.
I seethed with your
monster's rage.
I lusted for his revenge.
Because it was my own.
[gentle, dramatic music ]
I wonder... many souls will sympathize
with your creature's torments?
More than should, I expect.
It is time I moved home.
You must get your story
published, Mary.
[echoing voices] Dear Madam, thank
you for sending us your manuscript,
'Frankenstein or
A Modern Prometheus'.
Unfortunately, this is not a
piece that interests us.
inform you that we shall not
be publishing your manuscript.
our taste in
judgement alike revolts
This subject is not to the taste of
our readers from a female author.
In fact, it strikes us as hardly an
appropriate subject for a young lady
We do not deny that the work has merit
but we are cautious in proceeding.
The truth is you have nowhere
else to go with your story.
The Lackington Group will publish it.
500 copies will be printed.
It will be published anonymously,
provided you write the introduction.
Well of course.
I'd be delighted.
So everyone will think
you wrote it.
Provided it's published,
what does it matter?
What does it matter?
How is it possible that you
still don't understand?!
You want me to abandon my claim because
my gender might spoil its success.
- I never said that.
- You don't have to.
Not once do you ever think about
the consequences of your actions!
You bear just as much
responsibility for our life as I.
I, I'm not the, some grand
architect of our misery, Mary.
You bear the responsibility.
I bear the responsibility
of ever believing in you!
[melancholy music ]
[thumping outside]
...thank you.
- You look...
- Like I've seen better days?
Mr. Godwin said the same.
You saw my father?
His shop is stocking my work.
You finished it.
Not quite.
Lord Byron!
I'd all but forgotten
about it until
Byron's publisher somehow got a
hold of it and printed it as his.
I tried to assert my rights
as the true author
but in response I've only
been called a plagiarist.
I will write to Byron and appeal
to him to tell the truth.
He has already tried.
He despises the story.
The public just has no
interest in the truth.
What about your
mysterious masterpiece?
The absence of your
name was notable.
It is ironic, isn't it?
I write a story lampooning Byron,
the blood-sucking devourer of souls
and he gets all the credit.
While you wrote about a desperately
lonely and abandoned creature.
Abandoned by an irresponsible
narcissist and She-
Shelley gets all the credit.
Nonetheless, congratulations.
Shelley must be pleased.
I haven't seen
Shelley in months.
It's for you.
We have created monsters,
But let's not let them
devour us.
[street chatter]
[audience talking]
[doorbell rings]
Gentlemen, welcome. Thank
you for coming.
We're here to celebrate the success of
'Frankenstein; Or The Modern Prometheus'.
It's a remarkable story
asserting, as it does, the...
absolute human necessity
for connection.
From the moment Doctor Frankenstein's
creature opens its eyes
it seeks the touch of its creator.
But he recoils in terror
leaving the creature to its first
of many experiences of neglect
and isolation.
And if only Frankenstein had been
able to bestow upon his creation
a compassionate touch.
A kind word.
What a tragedy might have
been avoided.
But it is a credit to the writer
that it is these very thoughts
that continue to run through
our minds long after we've
turned the final page
of this book
which I know you all agree is
one of the most complete and
certainly one of the most
original publications of our age.
[crowd applauding]
Thank you.
Thank you.
I know many of you wonder who could
have written this horrific tale
and why was it
published anonymously.
I see some of you suggest
that the work belongs to me.
Indeed, you could say that the work would
not even exist without my contribution.
But to my shame
the only claim I remotely
have to this work
is inspiring the desperate loneliness
that defines Frankenstein's creature.
The author of 'Frankenstein; Or A
Modern Prometheus' is, of course
Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin.
[crowd murmurs]
[soft, dramatic music ]
It is a work of singular genius and she
is indebted to no one in its creation.
I really thought you'd left
for good.
I never promised you a life
without misery
but I underestimated the
depths of despair
and the weight of regret we
were to endure.
I lost everything to be with
you, Percy.
Always set out to create
something wonderful
something beautiful.
But something volatile
seethed within us.
the monster galvanized
but if I had not learned to
fight through the anguish
I would not have found this
voice again.
My choices made me who I am.
And I regret nothing.
[music swells ]
[Mary, voiceover] You were
soon borne away by the waves
and lost in darkness
and distance.