A hilarious parody of British royalty in the 1700s, inspired by true characters. The Favourite review is brought to you by AboutFlick’s Mr T.
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Review: The Favourite, like all Yorgos Lanthimos films, is a tragedy under the guise of absurdist dark comedy. It follows the story of two women, Abigail Masham and Sarah Churchill, who are engaged in a zero-sum game competing over the affection of Queen Anne. It’s set in 1708, but this isn’t exactly the kind of history that you find in textbooks.
Unlike a traditional movie that presents a protagonist for the audience to invest in, who more often than not, is male, this movie offers three layered female leads. No one is who they seem to be. Rachel Weisz starts off as the Machiavellian conspirator overstepping her boundaries, but ends up as a patriot, trying to do the right thing. Emma Stone quickly transforms from naive, wide-eyed innocence to a scheming architect of corruption. And you cannot help but feel sorry for the spineless, clueless and inept queen portrayed by the exceptional Olivia Colman, once you learn that she has been driven to the verge of lunacy due to personal misfortune.
The set design is simply gorgeous, as one would expect from a film on the time-period it’s set in, and the Beethoven inspired score adds weight to the atmosphere that the filmmaker yearns to create. The wide-angle pans and fish-eye shots used again and again in the movie brought me the kind of joy only a fellow camera nerd can understand. I could barely stop making audible expressions of delight, in case the other theater goers don’t share the sentiment.
Lanthimos provides a searing commentary on human nature in The Favourite, though he puts story above history. He makes an absolute mockery of period dramas like The Crown or Downton Abbey, poking fun at the decadence of the royal household while the citizens are starving. With all the villainy and treachery, it is a testament to the director’s skill that the film does not veer into opera territory.
Rating: My rating is 4.5/5.
Who should watch this: Black comedy and period drama fans will definitely enjoy The Favourite. Also check out The Death Of Stalin (2017), Lady Macbeth (2016), The Lobster (2015), Marie Antoinette (2006), The Killing Of A Sacred Deer (2017) and Dogtooth (2009).