The Favourite (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)
Updated: Mar 4, 2020
THE FAVOURITE (2018)
Starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, James Smith, Mark Gatiss, Jenny Rainsford, Emma Delves, Faye Daveney, Paul Swaine, Jennifer White, LillyRose Stevens, Denise Mack, James Smith, Willem Dalby, Edward Aczel, Carolyn Saint-Pé, John Locke, Everal Walsh and Horatio the Duck.
Screenplay by Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara.
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos.
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures. 120 minutes. Rated R.
I am going to start with my reaction to the end of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite, to get it out there so that it doesn’t cloud the rest of my review.
The ending was incomprehensible and artsy to a fault. I walked out of the theater deflated and frustrated, after what was otherwise a fun, though incredibly dark, just under two-hour film experience filled with smart writing and well-matched comedic timing. It’s not a spoiler, because it feels that utterly unrelated to the rest of the film.
So, know that and still go see The Favourite if you are interested in anachronistic, mock period, dark comedies that feel fresh, and shocking, and manic all at the same time.
Olivia Colman plays the seemingly naïve, easily manipulated, lonely though the center-point of her country – the physically and emotionally pained Queen Anne. Her most-trusted court includes childhood friend, confidante, clandestine lover, and chief manipulator Lady Sarah (played by Rachel Weisz).
Sarah uses her favor to push ahead her policies for England, to the chagrin of over-the-top Harley (played by Nicholas Hoult) who has his own court agenda. That agenda doesn’t stand a chance with Lady Sarah at Anne’s side.
Enter Abigail (played by Emma Stone), the long-lost beguiling cousin of Lady Sarah. Abigail journeys to request work from her cousin, but instead winds her way into service to Queen Anne. As you can imagine, much chaos ensues, and the plot twists and turns, wreaking havoc on the screen in unimaginably funny ways.
The costumes, designed by 12-time nominated, three-time Oscar winning designer Sandy Powell, add to the richness of The Favourite – period design combined with present day details that allow the film to be as visually anachronistic as the dialogue.
In spite of its witty, creative trailer, I did not expect the level of intelligence and humor found in The Favourite. I enjoyed the chapter-like timeline that became a game in its own right – as the audience listened for the chapter name within the chapter’s dialogue. I suspect that it is a film that will improve the more it is watched, allowing the viewer to pick up on finer plot points and gags.
Overall, in spite of my negative take on the film’s final shots, The Favourite was extremely entertaining and with performances worthy of the audience buzz. I look forward to seeing this film again but may leave before the credits roll.
Copyright ©2018 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: December 5, 2018.
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