Review: THE FAVOURITE Is An Intelligent Period Satire

FIRST IMPRESSION

Apart from a few slow moments, The Favorite is a phenomenal film. It features some of the best performances, cinematography, and set design of the year.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

The Favourite is the newest film by director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer). It is about a frail Queen Anne during the early 18th century as her favoritism shifts between her friend, Lady Sarah, and a new servant, Abigail. It debuted at the 2018 Venice Film Festival and has been picking up great reviews and awards buzz ever since.

This is the first English-language movie by Yorgos Lanthimos which he did not also write, yet it nonetheless still very much feels like a film by him. It contains many of the quirks of Lanthimos’s style, with the major exception being that the dialogue does not feel as cold and flat as in his other movies. It still contains the same rapid dialogue, dark sense of humor and cynicism towards humanity.

The main issue with the film is that it does not have the excellent pacing of Lanthimos’s other work. Usually, his movies build and compound suspense. This film is much more straightforward, feeling almost melodramatic. It is still extremely enjoyable, but it isn’t as absorbing or atmospheric as you would hope.

the favourite stone
Emma Stone in the film THE FAVOURITE. Photo by Yorgos Lanthimos. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

The characters are amazingly complex. The script is surprisingly effective at humanizing Queen Anne despite the fact that she is literally royalty. She is immensely sympathetic and does a great job of running the film. On the other hand, Abigail and Lady Sarah are dynamically-written. The audience switches between loving and hating each of them multiple times over the course of the story.

The movie is also absolutely hilarious. There are multiple scenes throughout that caused the audience to roar in laughter. The humor is perhaps more accessible than that of Lanthimos’s other movies because it is slightly less deranged, although still dark. The caustic wit of the script also goes a long way towards making the film more enjoyable. Additionally, there are elements of physical comedy throughout that work really well.

The execution is very strong. The cinematography is some of the best of the whole year. The framing is absolutely wonderful, creating both a sense of extravagance and an unsettling tone. The movements are also phenomenal. The movie utilizes quite a few pans and tracking shots, and these are impressively smooth. Most intriguing about the camerawork, though, is the use of the fish-eye lens. This distorts the image, further building the tone.

the favourite dancing
Rachel Weisz and Joe Alwyn in the film THE FAVOURITE. Photo by Atsushi Nishijima. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

The set design is amazing too. The film’s ability to transport the audience back to England in the 1700’s is admirable. The scale with which the palace was built is awe-inspiring. The attention to detail in the costuming is very exact as well. Another element that worked very well was the movie’s score. It is a blend of more classical music and the darker melodies characteristic of thrillers. This does a great job of building atmosphere.

However, the absolute best part of the film is its performances. Olivia Colman is being pushed as the lead and Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are being pushed as supporting actresses. Honestly, any of the three of them could have fit into either category. The three of them are all so good, yet somehow, no one overshadows anyone else. They are all given ample time to flex their chops. This was particularly daring work for Emma Stone, who has never done a role quite like this, and it works. This is her best performance. There are also some great performers in the supporting cast, like Nicholas Hoult and Joe Alwyn. Alwyn actually has a few moments that rank among the funniest of the movie.

Overall, The Favourite is a very solid film. It isn’t quite a masterpiece, as it has some parts in which it drags, but it is enjoyable and extremely well-made. This is one not to miss.

The Favourite is now playing in select theaters and has an ongoing expansion.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

We Are the Dream (2020): Cole Provost “How Are We Changing the World?” (Clip) | HBO

Cole Provost performs "How Are We Changing the World?" at The Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest. Watch We Are the Dream, now streaming on HBO. #MLK #WeAreTheDream #HBO #HBODocs Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Don’t have HBO? Order Now: https://itsh.bo/GetHBONow Get More HBO: Get HBO GO: https://play.hbogo.com Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hbodocs Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HBODocs…

Star Trek: Picard – Jean-Luc Needs Help That Only Elnor Can Give (Ep. 4, “Absolute Candor”)

Picard's mission to find Soji has a new recruit: Elnor. Stream all-new episodes of Star Trek: Picard on Thursday, exclusively in the U.S. on CBS All Access. Stream all-new episodes of "Star Trek: Picard" on Thursdays, exclusively in the U.S. on CBS All Access. Subscribe To "CBS All Access" Channel HERE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrRttZIypNTA1Mrfwo745Sg For more content…

Formula 1: Drive To Survive Season 2 | Official Trailer | Netflix

Drive to Survive is back. Follow the 2019 circuit as we meet the humans behind the helmets in this all access series. Only on Netflix. Watch Formula 1: Drive to Survive, Only on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81060643 SUBSCRIBE: https://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 167 million paid memberships in over…

Call of the Wild | Movie Review

Ashley reviews The Call of the Wild. THE CALL OF THE WILD tells the story of Buck, a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life is turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Yukon during the Gold Rush of the 1890s. Director: Chris…

Arriving at the CDC | The Walking Dead Classic Scene

Rick and the survivors finally make it to the CDC, but is anyone still in there? Watch Classic Scenes from The Walking Dead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXGsuJnIWQo&list=PLP63B9XPsQt1LcCKwMK5sFVj7X0v0-KfN Subscribe to The Walking Dead on YouTube: https://goo.gl/Tu5rSx #TWD #TheWalkingDead #ClassicScene THE WALKING DEAD: Like The Walking Dead on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWalkingDeadAMC/ Follow The Walking Dead on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WalkingDead_AMC Visit The Walking…

The BEST Advice from The Boys | Prime Video

"Here's the truth...anyone who tells you they know the answers is lying..." The supes are serving the up great advice and honesty in this compilation. Which piece of advice from The Boys is giving you motivation today? » Watch The Boys now exclusively with your Prime membership: http://bit.ly/PrimeVideoTheBoys » SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/PrimeVideoSubscribe About The Boys: The…

We Are the Dream (2020): Lincoln Elementary “Things We Carry From the Sea” (Clip) | HBO

Lincoln Elementary performs "Things We Carry From the Sea," featured at The Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest. Watch We Are the Dream, now streaming on HBO. #MLK #WeAreTheDream #HBO #HBODocs Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Don’t have HBO? Order Now: https://itsh.bo/GetHBONow Get More HBO: Get HBO GO: https://play.hbogo.com Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hbodocs Follow on Twitter:…

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: Trevor Bauer | Official Trailer | HBO

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer is one of the most outspoken and unusual athletes in all of professional sports whose scientific approach to his craft, utilizing tools like radar technology and high speed cameras, has revolutionized the art of baseball. Tune in to Real Sports on Tuesday, February 25th at 10PM on HBO. #RealSports #HBO…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here