With the start of the year, most of the major awards contenders start to be released and first out of the blocks is Yorgos Lamthimos’ The Favourite. A British period drama set on the court of Queen Anne may sound like a typical piece of British heritage cinema but anyone who has seen the director’s previous films would know that this will be far from that.
Anne (Olivia Coleman), increasingly beset by illness, reigns in the early 18th century. As war rages abroad, at home politicians and courtiers scheme to be in her favour. Her closest confidante, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), is joined in court by her impoverished cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) who begins to replace her relative in the queen’s affections.
This is really only very loosely based on real characters and events. The story goes off into increasingly mad tangents, taking increasing liberties with the truth. With some pretty explicit sex references and, at times, crude dialogue, it definitely won’t be for everyone, and there were a number of walk outs in the showing I saw.
However, I enjoyed it for the romp it was. I think it is the director’s best film, and certainly his most accessible. Olvia Coleman is already scooping up a number of awards. I think that Weisz is as good, and Stone may just be the best of the three.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10