Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Favourite

Movie Name: The Favourite
Year of Release: 2018
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Stars: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, Mark Gatiss, James Smith
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
View Trailer

Synopsis & Review:
Prolific director Yorgos Lanthimos is back, following the well received "The Killing of a Sacred Deer", which premiered in 2017. The film based on true facts, follows the story of the relationship of Queen Anne with Lady Sarah Churchill and Churchill's destitute cousin, Abigail, in the 18th century.
We're introduced early on to the three characters, as Queen Anne shares an intimate (and amorous) relationship with Sarah, who in turn uses her leverage with the Queen to get what she wants politically. The Queen has issues with her health, something that Sarah also uses to keep her under her control. Abigail, destitute and without means of survival, notices the mechanics of this relationship, and starts ingratiating herself on the good side of the Queen while simultaneously plotting the downfall of Lady Sarah. These games keep escalating, until matters take a sharp turn, something that Abigail seizes to further her position and influence.
Yorgos Lanthimos has managed to create a career peppered with surreal events, that in the end, showcase the ironic, brutal and at times, destructive nature of human relationships. Some of his stories take place in different realities that are in turn, metaphors for the current human condition. "The Favourite" is very much like that, even if it looks to the past to build a bridge to how relationships are established between people in the present. These three women use power, sex, and virtually every game possible, to get attention, and ingratiate themselves in positions of privilege and influence. As some grow in importance and credibility, others flail and falter, all of them losing themselves and their integrity in the process. It's an apt metaphor for our times, for how quickly people grow in importance, all based on shallow feats and promptly riding the coattails of someone else. It's a film with a powerful message, powered by an energetic cast, where Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz in particular invest their characters with an energy, romance, longing and sadness that is unlike anything they have done in the past. The cinematography from Robbie Ryan is fantastic, as are the phenomenal costumes from the always stupendous Sandy Powell. A very good film worth watching, from a truly unique voice in film.