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The Favourite

January 20, 2019

The Favourite (2018)
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Actors: Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman

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Synopsis: Incumbent lady in waiting, Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz), and her arriviste younger cousin, Abigail Hill (Emma Stone), become rivals in their attempts to assert a position as the favourite confidante to an ailing Queen Anne (Olivia Colman)

Review: Yorgos Lanthimos’ attempt to breathe fresh, satirical life into a well-worn genre like the period film is honourable enough, but the end result feels surprisingly unmemorable and monotonous, and this has all essentially been done before and in much better ways by the likes of Marie Antoinette, Amadeus, Dangerous LiaisonsLove and Friendship and even the Blackadder TV series, to name just a few examples.

Lanthimos clearly projects a revisionist, feminist slant on proceedings with three women resolutely at the centre of the narrative, and, not only that, but never at any time does the story privilege any form of male-driven heteronormative sex – even after Emma Stone’s social climbing Abigail Hill marries Baron Masham for status.

Lanthimos’ fisheye lens is probably the main formal flourish, distorting the visual field to make even more absurd and unreal the airlessness of Queen Anne’s inner sanctum where the increasingly fervid drama plays out on. Even then though, this technique transmits as crashingly obvious, standing as unwitting emblem for the one-dimensionality of this film’s rhetorical attack. (January 2019)


2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2019 6:35 pm

    We were unimpressed with The Favourite… mundane… no story… didn’t care about any of the characters. One scene was spectacular… runaway horse scene… Loved the horse’s tack… the breast collar was “to die for.” As a dedicated equestrian…made me shiver.


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