The Favourite - This Movie Royally Rocks
Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn
Jorgos Lanthimos eschews the science fiction and borderline horror movie tropes of his most recent movies, and makes a move into period drama, never leaving his darkly black vein of humour behind, resulting in what could be termed historical absurdity (for want of a better phrase.)
Olivia Colman excels as the all but forgotten/ignored monarch Queen Anne, increasingly consumed by painful gout and her own increasing dottiness. She is well matched by a superb Rachel Weisz, as her adviser, confidante and lover. Together they form a whole that effectively manages to rule the country and keep each other happy. Into the mix then comes Emma Stone’s lady who has lost her title and is forced to take a job in the palace kitchen, but who clearly has no intention of staying there for long. As things progress – in an increasingly ridiculous world in which courtiers race ducks on indoor tracks or pelt fruit at fat naked men in wigs, just for shits and giggles – Stone and Weisz vie for the attentions of their Queen, playing her off against each other and herself, taking what was once a relationship built on love and turning it into one of mistrust, despair and ultimately loss.
To say all three women deliver knockout performances is an understatement, the big question being who gets nominated and in which categories (you can – very literally - argue it three ways.) Around them Lanthimos crafts a very careful but free-flowing movie, beautifully capturing his locations in natural light and candle light, often employing widescreen lenses to emphasise the environment, as if placing his characters in what almost feels like a fishbowl at times, all the better to observe their troubling behaviour.
The success of the film is that for all its darkness, its bitchiness, its emotional violence – and it’s much welcome heavy dropping of the c-bomb – it becomes and remains an emotional movie, one that touches, one whose sense of ultimate loss for all those involved can’t help but resonate.
Come awards season this could well be, ahem, The Favourite. (Well, obviously it will be, but you know what we mean.)
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