Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writers: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
Stars: Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone
A period drama/comedy starring Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone… It’s no wonder those old conservative people I watched walking out of the theater after the 20th use of the C-word had no idea what they were getting themselves into… But add the words R-rated and “from director Yorgos Lanthimos” and they really should have known that The Favourite might not be for them.
With his 4th feature, Lanthimos this time working from someone else’s script, has created a one-of-a-kind bleak but hilarious almost parody of a classic royalty period drama. The performances are captivating but raunchy, the cinematography gorgeously captures the scenic castle setting but using unexpected almost fish-eye style lenses and odd angles, and the score is striking but unpredictable. The Favourite is anything but the traditional film people may expect going in without knowledge of the director.
And of course, as a huge fan of 2016’s The Lobster (and to a lesser extent, his 2017 film The Killing of a Sacred Deer), I had an idea going in of what to expect. But even I was shocked (in the best of ways) by what I got. The story of Queen Anne and her favored servant who must fight to keep her position as her cousin (Emma Stone) vies to take it from her might not 100% be based on reality, but the twists and turns and back-stabbing shines such a beautiful but dark light on humanity and the way people treat one another. Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne just might be one of the best cinematic creations of the year as she barks orders at everyone around her despite her crumbling physical and mental state. This is not a movie that celebrates the good in people, but if your sense of humor allows you to laugh about the worst in people, The Favourite just might end up one of your favorite movies of the year.