The 18th C English royal court is re-imagined by Yorgos (The Lobster, Killing of the Sacred Deer, Dogtooth) Lanthimos and not too surprisingly he lays waste to costume drama expectations, and instead gives us a trio of extravagant and ruthless women who take no prisoners but are human, all too human.
Early 18th century. England may be at war with the French on the continent but back at court duck racing and pineapple eating are the rage. A sickly Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) ravaged by gout occupies the throne while her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) the Duchess of Marlborough, governs the country by controlling Parliament while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. Sarah’s also the only person who can tell the Queen when her eyeshadow makes her look like a badger. When Sarah’s distant cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives desperate for employment, she finds a way to return to her aristocratic roots. As the contentious politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way. In terms of creating flesh and blood recognizable humans dressed in courtly haut-couture, this is a step up; his characters live and breathe the same air we do. And his film often shot through a very wide angle fish eye lens is gorgeous with a Caravaggio-like palette.
“The Favourite is a filthy, violent and outrageous period comedy that drips with bad language and worse behaviour, and will appall anyone who is expecting a more conventional royal drama. It’s also strangely touching.” – BBC’s Nicholas Barber
(Ireland, UK / 2018 / Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos )
R / 2 hrs