Directed By: Yorgos Lanthimos
I wanted to see The Favourite, ever since viewing the trailer, mainly for the three female leads and boy they did not disappoint! Unfortunately I didn’t love the movie as much as the performances but its definitely an interesting film.
We are immediately made to feel for Abigail (Emma Stone)- her family fallen her father lost her to a man in a game and even when we first see her stuffed into a carriage she’s being assaulted by a guy masturbating who then grabs her ass as she’s exiting the carriage. The maids abuse her horribly and Sarah, her own cousin, is less than kind.
Meanwhile the exceedingly powerful Lady Marlborough (Rachel Weisz) whose a childhood friend of Queen Anne’s is brutal to the Queen, treats other people at court like dirt and moves to manipulate Anne into breaking the backs of the English to fund the war her husband happens to be leading.
It’s hard to like the rich and powerful Sarah when her reaction to people are starving to death is well, at least the French aren’t killing them in their beds.
As the sweet and trusting Abigail starts to take the lessons of the court and the world to heart and vie for Anne’s favor (even shocking herself by how far she’ll go) thoughts and positions will shift. I did believe by the end that Sarah truly cared for even loved Anne but power corrupts even love and friendship.
Casting here was on-point for all three women. Anne was perhaps hardest to like because she’s really just that thing they’re fighting over. She’s in pain and poor health. You get fleeting moments that she wants to be Queen- a good loved Queen- but she’s also more than happy letting people make her decisions for her.
It’s a surprisingly physical role and she plays it without any vanity. I couldn’t help but think having Emma Stone blonde for this role was perfect. She has one of those faces the big blue eyes and the perfect ringlets have this sort of sunshine innocence that baits Anne but she can also turn on a dime and do steely and cruel.
Meanwhile Sarah starts off cold and formal but as her life starts to unravel the hair comes down, the face is literally scared and we begin to see cracks of in the shell of hardness.
And Anne becomes the broken doll in their back and forth. Nicholas Hoult has some nice moments as a powerful member of Parliament vying to stop the war or at least take out Sarah.
Problems? I don’t need historical accuracy but they could have been a little kinder to Anne- who by many accounts was a good (or at least) very involved Queen. The dance was ridiculous and I agreed with Anne when she started screaming to leave. Joe Alwyn didn’t have much to do which is good because he seems perfect for a Hallmark Christmas movie future and I didn’t like the last scene of the film. They could have at least shortened it considerably. Still has the same effect people.
Recommend: 50/50 This is a hard one to recommend because it does have such odd moments. I wouldn’t say you have to see it in theaters but if you’re interested in the performances or likely Oscar contenders this is looking like a big one.