“My dear friend and cousin, how good to see you’ve returned from-“
“Hell. I’m sure you shall pass through it one day.”
The Favourite tells the story of Queen Anne, the Ruler of Great Britain and Ireland back in the 18th century. When her loyal companion, advisor, and lover, Sarah Duchess of Marlborough, becomes preoccupied with the rivalries of the two political parties, Sarah’s cousin, Abigail Hill, begins to usurp Sarah’s position with the Queen. What ensues is a tailspin of dramatic and comedic proportions, that is purely terrific. Director Yorgos Lanthimos (Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Lobster) can push viewers into rather uncomfortable situations, and The Favourite is no different, making us feel like a fly on the wall, watching this eccentric story unfold.
Much to the credit of the main actresses in this film, these three have rarely had a mediocre performance. Olivia Colman, who I know more as the female cop from Hot Fuzz, plays Queen Anne with such ferocity and wit. Colman, whose main genre of acting comes from comedy, plays to that genre as much as she can, as the film’s comedic moments are so greatly incorporated to what could have easily been a dramatic film. Colman is the incredibly fortunate one as both Sarah and Abigail fight for Queen Anne’s attention. Rachel Weisz who plays Sarah, has one of the best performances of her career. It’s unlike Weisz to star in a decent comedic film, but here she shines at her brightest. And of course, not to be outdone by the previous two, Emma Stone… Well, what can I say? I love seeing her in a more mischievous role, and a role of a character whose personality is not flattering. In what has been said to be an “All About Eve” type of situation, The Favourite has a very idiosyncratic story that will have you glued to the screen.
I personally didn’t know what to expect with The Favourite. Though I have seen Lanthimos’ previous films, I honestly didn’t know how wild his vision would get for this piece of historical fiction. Screenwriters Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara are able to have a magnificent story in creating this love triangle based on minor information given to us in historical books. Only a few books have been written on Queen Anne’s relationships with both Sarah and Abigail, and whether these women were more intimately involved. But Lanthimos, who usually pens his own screenplays, takes this imaginative script and turns it into something that’s so visually unique.
If you’ve seen any of Lanthimos’ prior films, The Favourite is a tad different, but equally stunning in its own right. Lanthimos, as well as the actors, are amazing storytellers in creating such a beautiful film. Not to mention his talented work with the camera. Lanthimos’ use of the fish-eye lens is my personal favorite. Everything falls together perfectly. The men and women behind The Favourite, create a work of art that will leave you mesmerized, and experiencing one of the best films that you can possibly see.
Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos
Screenplay by: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
Starring: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz