Rating4.5 / 5
Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz
26 December 2018
Twentieth Century Fox
Filled with alliances and double-crossing, The Favourite explores 18th Century British politics with the help of a thrilling performance from Olivia Colman.
Set in England in the early 1700’s, The Favourite follows a sickly Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) as those closest to her run amuck and manipulate her every decision. Her most trusted ally Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) is the most devious of all, making royal decrees under the guise of having Queen Anne’s support. When Lady Sarah’s American cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives unannounced, she gradually gets closer and closer to the Queen, threatening to destroy Lady Sarah’s hold on her
The Favourite is as delightfully fun as its trailers suggest. Director Yorgos Lanthimos delivers his usual wacky storytelling style, as seen in The Lobster and Dogtooth, but this time around he brings us a far more mainstream offering. The twist and turns that are frequent in his films feature heavily in The Favourite and complement the many betrayals and back door deals that occur in politics. All three female characters want particular things and Lanthimos casts light on the unscrupulous ends the three will go to.
The performances from the cast as a whole are brilliant, with Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone bringing moments of humour, but ultimately The Favourite belongs to Olivia Colman. When Lady Sarah and Abigail begin to visibly fight for Queen Anne’s affections, it’s Colman’s turn from making the Queen a victim to a keen player in the game that shows Queen Anne’s true deception. However, it’s Colman’s ability to play Queen Anne after she’s had a stroke that is the most astounding. It’s horrifically accurate and cements Colman’s chances of winning Best Actress in the awards this year.
The lavish set design and extravagant costumes ooze with 18th Century decadence. The fashion of the time is captured perfectly amongst the men, and although there was a little bit of creative licence taken with Lady Sarah’s costumes, the ladies costumes are just as grand. The musical score is also terrific in supporting the story, creating moments of high tension and playing for comedic effect at other times. The rapid, shrill strings only intensify the stakes and take the characters emotions to the next level.
The Favourite is a strong contender for the upcoming awards season and is most definitely worth a watch. It’s a wild ride of back-stabbing and manipulation and it’s lead performance from Colman is unmissable.
Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox