Mary Shelley is a biographical romantic period drama about the life and often challenging times of the author of Frankenstein. While little attempt is made to make Elle Fanning physically resemble Mary, she is reasonably able to embody the woman's highs and lows as she struggled with almost timeless challenges of betrayal, loss, gender inequality, life choices, and mortality as her mother died shortly after she was born. The film follows Mary as she began her love of reading and writing while living with her father, her meeting and falling into a tumultuous relationship with Poet Percy Shelley-her future husband, her then meeting Lord Byron and the stay at his estate with Dr. Polidori (who wrote The Vampyre) and her writing her influential and best-known work, then concluding with her attempts at getting published. The film uses Maisie Williams and the rest of the cast to fill in, but Elle carries the story nearly singlehandedly, strangely glossing over Mary Shelley's actually writing and her difficulties faced as a female trying to get published during the early 1800s when women authorship wasn't in fashion, especially for the horror genre. Indeed, the film focuses much of its story on the difficult relationship between Mary and Percy while not adequately addressing the creative process, her surviving the death of her daughter, or her uphill battle to get recognized for her talent. Ultimately, great attention to sets and costumes seemed to outweigh the telling of what should have been a fascinating look into the complex author's life.