If you think costume dramas involving royalty and wigs are boring and predictable, have we got a pick for you.
Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz
December 21st, 2018
It ain’t easy being queen.
Especially when you’re the Queen of England in the 1700s, surrounded by ridiculous-looking men in huge curly wigs and high heels trying to usurp your power and tell you what to do about the war with France. And you’re bored, confused and sick with gout.
No matter. In The Favourite, Queen Anne (played by genius Olivia Colman, who has a lock on an Oscar nomination for her performance) has friend-with-benefits Lady Sarah (a deliciously mean Rachel Weisz) by her side to keep everyone in Parliament terrified during the day and keep her bed warm at night. Everything is running according to Lady Sarah’s self-serving political plan until Abigail (Emma Stone), a gorgeous servant girl, arrives and wiggles her way into the queen’s favour with sob stories, a pout and some very suggestive leg massages. Lady Sarah is not pleased with this upstart’s new place in court, and a battle for the queen’s affection is set off with the most sinister and hilarious results.
A peek under the frills
The film mashes up this faithful period design, fussy costuming and dreary candle lighting with the sharpest and filthiest script of the year (think Veep meets Dangerous Liaisons) and weirdo fish-eye and zoom lenses: There’s so much “odd” here that you know you’re watching something amazing. It’s a freaky, jaw-droppingly funny —
and somehow still tender — masterpiece.
Most remarkable, though, is that this is a historical film about maximum power and persuasion in which the women take centre stage in a fearsome battle that has nothing to do with men! In this story, the men in court only serve as sexual pawns and sometimes literal props for the main plot. It’s striking and unprecedented to see this dynamic play out in a period piece and, to add to the thrill, all three lead actresses are operating at the peak of their powers.
From a beautifully twisted mind
Oscar-nominated Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos already had our attention with his off-kilter Hollywood films The Lobster (starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz) and The Killing of a Sacred Deer (with Farrell and Nicole Kidman), but this time he’s outdone himself. He has created the word-of-mouth hit of the awards season.
See The Favourite with someone who doesn’t shock easily!
We won’t say “don’t take your mom,” because she just might love it. This delicious costume drama is a perfect pick for lovers of gut-bustingly funny writing, ridiculous British history and juicy power struggles. Don’t miss the soon-to-be classic everyone is talking about.