The Favourite

The Favourite

(2018)

Two cousins (Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone) jockey for influence and power during the reign of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman, who scored an Oscar and Golden Globe for her performance) in this political comedy-drama from the Oscar-nominated director of The Lobster.... More

"Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant, Abigail (Stone), arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfil her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way." (Venice Film Festival)Hide

Flicks Review

“Love has its limits.” “Well, it shouldn’t.” This exchange, which takes place in the opening scene of The Favourite, could plausibly be from any of Yorgos Lanthimos’ small yet notorious catalogue of films. From Dogtooth, to The Lobster, to The Killing of a Sacred Deer, the Greek director and cinema darling has something of a preoccupation with emotional barriers—and what happens when they are transgressed.... More

Set in 18th Century England, The Favourite focuses on a love triangle of sorts between the dippy, gout-ridden Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman), her confidant Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weiss) and Churchill’s cousin Abigail (Emma Stone).

Beginning as down-and-out Abigail arrives at court hoping Sarah can find her employment there, she quickly gleans the true nature of Sarah and Anne’s relationship—and Anne’s emotional vulnerability—and sets out to usurp her cousin in both Anne’s heart and court.

As much as those opening lines may feel perfectly Lanthimos-esque, The Favourite is the first of his films not to be scripted in collaboration with screenwriter Efthymis Filippou. In fact, first drafted in 1998 by Deborah Davis (and more recently ‘freshened up’ by Tony McNamara) the script—originally titled Balance of Power—has been floating around for 20 years.

For a director now notorious for the eerie, stilted, stylised way his characters usually interact, this is a significant departure for Lanthimos: though The Favourite could not be said to be naturalistic as such, the dialogue is certainly more normal that that of say, Sacred Deer.

Initially this feels a little bit like a loss—I love that weird shit—yet quickly his signature uncanny emerges, strangely, subtly in other ways: audio overlaps for extended periods between scenes; a fish-eye lens is used to repeatedly distort our view; 17 rabbits, each representing one of Queen Anne’s still-born children, run amok.

With a suitably opaque — and for some perhaps a little bit infuriating—ending, The Favourite is a rare period drama that goes beyond merely re-hashing a sensationalised past. Instead, Lanthimos uses this fascinating, and apparently forgotten, moment in history to create a strange, twisted and darkly funny love story that is truly one of a kind.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 35 ratings, 25 reviews
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BY Newt superstar

A period drama slightly off-beat but in fact more intriguing than the conventional kind. The triumvirate of Colman, Weisz and Stone has such good dynamic that you'd be absorbed from start to finish.


BY PeterS superstar

.... are outstanding. I'm sure others will talk about the excellence of the performances etc, but I'd like to single out the work of the costume designer; they really brought the period to life.

Who can forget the shooting scene. What wonderful outfits!


BY anthonyb nobody

A superb cast cannot save this turgid joyless royal romp. While Olivia, Rachel and Emma do their predictable best, and the script has moments of witty banter, overall his story is as diseased as sad sorry Queen Anne herself. While the odd comic scene provides light relief, the story is increasingly grim and the ending brings no relief. The director constantly draws attention to the artifice of filmmaking with cuts to fish-eye angles, intrusive and often annoying soundtrack music. It could have... More easily lost 30 minutes from its seemingly interminable runtime also. If all of that sounds like your cup of poisoned tea, go right ahead, but be warned, you’ll definitely feel like some comic relief after this one.Hide


BY wobbit superstar

Queen Anne has a close adviser, but a closer adviser is around the corner.
Not sure how historically accurate the film is, but it captured my attention!


BY filmlover superstar

Reminiscent of Greenaway's 'The Draughtsman's Contract' and WinterBottom's 'Tristram Shandy' once more we are thrown into the absurdities of wigs, idiots and the absurdities of life when the Royals were all powerful but at the mercy of the ruthless and quick witted. Here is the story of a Queen, played deftly by the superior Olivia Coleman, who is sinking into madness after the deaths of 17 lost babies. Some may call this a comedy but really the humour must be wrestled out of this story of... More loss. Nicholas Hault shines in this one and Emma Stone is the best she has ever been in my opinion but don't be drawn by any reviews that tell you it's all a bit of a costumed romp. The locations and costuming are sumptuous and may well garner an oscar as may Coleman.Hide


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The Press Reviews

  • Fabulously entertaining... Full Review

  • This is a skewer-sharp and scabrously funny film, stuffed with quotable deadpan exchanges, often punctuated by that now-trademark Lanthimos camera manoeuvre... Full Review

  • It’s a perfectly cut diamond of a movie — a finely executed, coldly entertaining entry in the genre of savage misanthropic baroque costume drama. Full Review

  • It is a scabrous and often hilarious film, made loopier by the nightmarish visions and wide-angle distortions contrived by the cinematographer Robbie Ryan. Full Review

  • BBC

    Yorgos Lanthimos's The Favourite is a filthy, violent and outrageous period comedy that drips with bad language and worse behaviour, and will appal anyone who is expecting a more conventional royal drama. Full Review

  • [Yorgos Lanthimos'] idiosyncratic style is an acquired taste that's starting to go stale, and as such this is one of those films that works like a charm in the moment but whose spell quickly wears off. Full Review

  • The Favourite is a pleasure to watch. It's weird without being alienating, dirty without being cheap. And you'd be hard-pressed to find a better acting trio this fall. Full Review

  • The absurdist dark humour won't appeal to everyone — depending on your level of cynicism, you'll either witness a masterful work of profundity or an overcooked piece of silliness. I loved it. Full Review

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