Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast: Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Nicholas Hoult
Synopsis: In the early 18th century, England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne occupies the throne, and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead, while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing, and Abigail sees a chance to return to her aristocratic roots.
It’s award season, which means that there are many good films making the rounds. The Favourite is one of them – with 10 nominations, it sure seems to fit the box of Oscar-worthy (whatever that may mean) as in it looks like a film which is generally favoured by the Academy Awards.
At first glance it looks like a period drama with post English lead like Olivia Colman and Oscar-winning co-stars of Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, but The Favourite is not at all what it seems. It does not pretend to be historically accurate, the script is funny, witty and biting, the costumes are made out of denim, and it depicts a love triangle that you don’t expect. As for the men, they are merely background and supporting characters, it completely throws the Bechdel test out of the water.
Olivia Colman wows as Queen Anne, playing the character as naive and grief-stricken, and well-deserving of BAFTA win. Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone as the conniving ladies in waiting to vie for Queen’s favour are just as compelling, with Weisz especially charming the screen and everyone on it, with her wit and excellent portrayal.
Lanthimos has to be commended as well, the director is known for his critically-acclaimed, experimental films such as The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and this unconventional director is what truly makes this film great. From the editing, to the music choices, to the cinematography, it’s different but it tells the story exactly as it should be told.
I am always a sucker for a good script, and The Favourite does not disappoint. The script is filled with double entendres, biting insults, and enjoyable moments that will make you want to read a copy of the script straight afterwards. The words sound brilliant coming out of the actresses’ mouths and with a lesser cast, or with a lesser director, even this excellent script would fall short.
The Favourite is currently playing at cinemas.
Rating: 4 ½ / 5