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.
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Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne's ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen's companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Multiple closeup shots clearly show second and third holes in Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz's ear lobes. Multiple ear piercings were not common in the early 1700s, especially for English women at court. See more »
Enthralling from the very beginning and bursting with enthusiasm, this endlessly funny period piece, mixed with a ravishing love triangle, is Lanthimos at his most accessible, all while maintaining the mordacious social commentary and absurdist tone that made him such a phenomenon. Needless to say, "The Favourite" is marvelously shot, capturing with elegance the grandeur of its setting through gorgeous steadicam and extravagant wide angles, but what really sets it apart are the characters that are shown against it. Arguably the most fascinating showcase of acting from each of its three leads, the dynamics of the trio are effervescent, chock-full of disdainful side-glances, sharp smiles and lascivious touches, making every man look like a disposable accessory. Weisz is ever caustic as Sarah Churchill, the queen's confidant and lover, who actually rules the kingdom through her, and Stone is ravishing as Abigail, Sarah's cousin, who plays a naïve, gleeful servant, but secretly will spare no efforts in order to become the queen's new favourite. However, it is Colman who steals the spotlight, through her mesmerizing performance of Queen Anne. Infantile and broken, impulsive and lustful, needy and erratic all at once, she takes credit for almost every one of the most iconic moments of the film, which are several, through her delicious tantrums and hilarious excesses, but most notably, through a few long, mathematically precise close-ups, during which her expression changes so subtly, yet so richly, that she conveys an extensive array of emotions, disarming the viewer with desperate loneliness and melancholy.
All of that innovating and beguiling experience could never have been made possible without an incredibly solid script, whose segmented structure and whimsically titled chapters make the audience anticipate, with an expectant smile, what kind of wicked schemes and betrayals will come next. While it is riveting and lively until two thirds well into the plot, some of the viewers might be left disappointed at how it becomes hopeless and dark. The sudden change of pace, however, is deliberate and calculated, leading to a visually unforgetable ending scene, as each of the characters finally realize the inescapable consequences of their extravagant behaviours.
Ultimately, "The Favourite" is an admirable confluence of talent, whose likes mainstream cinema only glimpses rarely, and that will leave audiences marveled and eager for more.
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