Every year one, maybe two movies come out that are so original that you can’t help but smile the entire time. In the past few years, director Yorgos Lanthimos has been the man behind such original films. The Lobster in 2017 was nominated for Best Original Screenplay and The Killing of a Sacred Deer took home several awards and was very creepy. Lanthimos may have his masterpiece this year with The Favourite. There is SO much to love about this one and its one of the rare movies that you instantly want to see again as soon as the credits begin to roll.
In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah governs the country in her stead. When a new servant Abigail arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.
This period piece is a beautiful mix of dark comedy and drama while managing to stay consistently entertaining throughout its entire runtime. There are some seriously laugh out loud moments in The Favourite. The beauty of it is that as soon as you laugh, the gripping score takes over and suddenly you get a creepy, dramatic vibe. To add to all that, the performances are brilliant and attention grabbing. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz both deliver Oscar-worthy performances. They are very different, though. Weisz portrays Lady Sarah, a very close friend of Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman). Her performance is very confident and direct, never stumbling over her dialogue or her delivery. Emma Stone plays her cousin, Abigail. She has the biggest transformation in the film, going from reserved to very bold and self-assured. The cast as whole is very good.
The screenplay is one of the year’s best. It is very well paced overall and the intense aspects are conveyed in such subtle ways at times. The costume and set design are impressive and authentic as well. All the aspects of filmmaking are great, but the one that stands out the most is the cinematography. The use of wide shots and shots with a fish eye lens combined with the perfect camera movements make The Favourite extremely pleasing to look at. The lighting is very vivid and plays well with the camera moves. There is a good chance this one takes home the Oscar for Best Cinematography.
The power plays and dynamic between Lady Sarah and Abigail are what drives the film. Once Abigail gets too close to the Queen, the back and forth becomes ridiculous and delightful. The fact that our two main characters are so well constructed makes it even more enjoyable. The Favourite is one of those movies that will make you laugh quite a bit, but there is always an underlying sense of dread. That’s what makes a Lanthimos film so engaging; you never know where it is going to turn.
2018 has definitely given us some great movies. The Favourite is one of the top 5 films of the year, hands down. There is no doubt that you will be entertained the entire time. There will be several Oscar nominations in the future for this one, including Best Picture, Best Director, and the Actress categories. Costume Design is another one that it’ll likely win. The Favourite will make you look at the reasons why we, as people, desire power and fear from certain loved ones. The movie is very in your face and bold. Go see it ASAP.