Title – The Favourite (2018)
Director – Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster)
Cast – Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn
Plot – Lady Sarah (Weisz) and the down on her luck Abigail (Stone) begin a nasty rivalry for the affections of the cantankerous Queen Anne (Colman) in the palace surrounds of the Queen’s estate in early 18th centaury England.
“As it turns out, I’m capable of much unpleasantness”
Review by Eddie on 22/01/2019
There’s no one out there making movies quite like Yorgos Lanthimos.
Instantly familiar in spirit, tone and execution to his recent collection of well-regarded film’s that include the underground favourite Dogtooth, breakthrough The Lobster and the brilliantly eerie The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Favourite once more sees Lanthimos instil his storytelling with a darkly and often completely odd humour that may not be for everyone but makes for spirited and engaging entertainment for all those that jump on board.
While not as intriguing as the totally unique Lobster or as skin crawling and unnerving as Sacred Deer, The Favourite is undoubtedly Lanthimos’s most assured and well-made film that is a beauty to behold, as well as the film most likely to garner its stars some serious awards love at this years Oscar’s.
With its magnificent production design, costumes and sets, that combine perfectly with Robbie Ryan’s naturally lit and inventive cinematography, The Favourite is a joy to behold in all technical aspects and is a clear example of Lanthimos growing confidence in his craft, that in-turn allows his three female lead performers the opportunity to ply their trade on a well-founded stage.
Led by a career best turn from Olivia Colman, who is a genuine dark horse in the Best Actress race, as the cantankerous and sad Queen Anne, The Favourite becomes one of recent memories strongest female driven film’s, with fellow performers Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz equally as strong as Colman in their roles as warring companions to Queen Anne, Abigail and Lady Sarah
Lapping up Deborah Davis’s and Tony McNamara’s witty and often very adult dialouge that pokes fun at royal life and the day to day goings on of the upper class and obviously having a blast in meaty roles, these three lead performers are operating at the top of their game here and its fantastic to see Lanthimos continuing to employee actors of this calibre to his original outings.
Where The Favourite does falter is in the story at the heart of the whole show.
At times snail paced and less than entralling, the tale of this love/stature fight does take a while to really get going and while seemingly the goal, its hard to get overly engaged with these characters too deeply as they all remain throughout quite vile and unlikeable, even if some circumstance beyond their control have led them to be so, but never the less, without a genuinely likeable or redeemable figure, the enjoyment levels of Lanthimos film, no matter the quality of its craft or performing, will differ widely from viewer to viewer.
Final Say –
There’s a lot to love about Lanthimos’s film in many of its aspects and while it’s a hard film to fall in love with character wise, this is the handiwork of a director and actors who are all on the top of their game, making The Favourite a well deserved awards darling.
3 1/2 duck races out of 5