"The Favourite" Movie Review

Updated on January 3, 2020
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

The Favourite
The Favourite | Source

To call Yorgos Lanthimos an acquired taste would be an insult to understatements; his movies run the gamut from squirm-inducing to downright impossible to watch. In 2015, his English-language debut The Lobster won critics’ raves and more than a handful of awards, but there were plenty of people who saw it and just stared at the screen afterward wondering what the heck they had just sat through.

Lanthimos is back at it again with The Favourite, a wicked, sharp, and entirely esoteric film that will scramble the brains of 99% of moviegoers. And those whose brains aren’t scrambled will most likely be simply pretending their brains aren’t scrambled. And that’s considering the fact that it is easily his most “accessible” film to date. Just keep in mind—this is a man whose idea of “normal” is something that Wes Anderson may find just a wee bit too over-the-top.

Olivia Colman stars as Queen Anne, who ruled Great Britain in the early 18th century and who, by all accounts, was a physical and psychological mess. Plagued by gout and prone to host duck races in the grand foyer, Anne certainly kept things interesting in the royal court. Her right-hand man was a woman, Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough, played with grace and nuance by Rachel Weisz. Eventually, we learn the two are also lovers—despite being on different sides of the aisle—and it’s a situation Sarah exploits for all its worth, as she tries to get her own agenda through Parliament.

When Sarah’s estranged cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) comes to find work, she falls in with Sarah immediately and, soon after, with the Queen, too. Before long, she has discovered an exploit-worthy situation of her own, determined to finagle her way even closer to the Queen, at the expense of her cousin.

Lanthimos, who makes “thinking outside the box” look like a day at the office, gives The Favourite a fresh and interesting feel, relying on everything from the liberal use of a fish-eye lens (courtesy of cinematographer Robbie Ryan) to a whack-a-doo score that includes works by everyone from Schumann to Luc Ferrari to Elton John.

The Favourite at times feels like 1984’s Amadeus on LSD, at others like Tom Petty’s 1985 video for “Don’t Come Around Here No More”, and the rest of the time like a black-comedy version of Dangerous Liaisons. It’s fun at times, jarring at others, and rarely, if ever, does it feel anything close to conventional.

Colman, Weisz, and (especially) Stone all do marvelous work, dry and droll as the day is long, and each goes just far enough so as to not cross the line into buffoonery. Their work is worthy of all the awards-season buzz it’s getting, and there’s no doubt in my mind they will each have at least a few new pieces of hardware on their mantles in the near future.

Though on the surface The Favourite may look like something from the staid Merchant-Ivory world, it’s anything but, and though it has perhaps the narrowest audience of any movie this year, those who just sit back and let the madness in will be handsomely rewarded with the black licorice treat of the movie season.

Rating

4.5/5 stars

'The Favourite' trailer

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)