It would be safe to call the films of Yorgos Lanthimos a bit of an acquired taste. Personally, I love his films and the way they are made but there are many who might be put off by how ‘weird’ it is. As for The Favourite, I was really excited about the film because it got Lanthimos together with three brilliant actors. And to see the director tackle a period film just heightened my curiosity. The film is definitely not as ‘weird’ as some of Lanthimos’ other films and that will give it a broader appeal.
The story revolves around Queen Anne and the two women vying for her attention. What follows is often times hilarious and a touch emotional here and there. In many ways this is the first light-hearted of Lanthimos that I have seen. But even here, there are some shock inducing moments, the likes of which we have come to expect from the director. Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara who have written the script show the politics of the time that is both political and personal. At times, the film feels like its a satire of the way things were in the 18th century. The dialogue has this energy that you normally would not associate with films of this ilk. On more than a few occasions, you are bound to chuckle at the sheer audacity of what is happening. If there’s any flaw here, it is that after a point, you can sort of predict what is going to happen next but the way it happens is sure to be entertaining.
Though the three women all shine in their own right, the best performance of the film belongs to Queen Anne played by Olivia Colman. Her character’s mix of vulnerability, innocence and royalty is fascinating to watch. As for Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, both of them bring their A game and it makes the film better. The changing dynamics between the three of them highlights the power of love and our need to feel loved. This is particularly evident in the actions of the Queen.
A special mention has to be made of Nicholas Hoult who plays the leader of the opposition with a perfect balance of comedy and cunning. The cinematography by Robbie Ryan is brilliant and it made me think of Barry Lyndon with some shots. When the beauty of the British landscape is contrasted with the slight absurdity of the plot, it makes these shots stand out even more. The Favourite is ultimately a film about power and more importantly love and to be honest, I loved it.
Until next time, bye.