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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
[after her fall]
They were all staring, weren't they? I can tell even if I can't see. And I heard the word fat! Fat and ugly!
Anne, no one but me would dare and I did not.
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Yorgos Lanthimos is quite an impressive filmmaker. I absolutely loved The Lobster. It was unique and cynically funny. I also enjoyed the creativity and somber delivery of The Killing of a Sacred Deer. For The Favourite it seemed like a different type of venture for Lanthimos, but certainly one where he would be able to implement his creativity and filming techniques. The Favourite is good in exactly the way you would expect it to be.
The film is about Queen Anne and her favourite Sarah Churchill. Churchill's cousin, Abigail Hill soon arrives to the kingdom looking for a job. She eventually gets close to the ailing Queen and Sarah and Abigail start to battle for the Queen's affection. The Queen has a history of health problems so she needs someone to attend to her consistently. The motives of Abigail seem unclear because she seems to have many different interests and pursuits. The film stars an excellent cast of Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, with supporting roles from Nicholas Hoult and Joe Alwyn.
Yorgo's style is still ever present in this film. The camera uses fish eye and wide shots that encompass the entire grand scenery and decor of the castle. He uses natural lighting which is a common thread in his work. The characters are very well acted, especially Coleman who was just born to scream at servants and complain loudly about everything. I thought the film touches on a relationship between women but doesn't linger on it long enough. The film has comedic one liners as is expected from Lanthimos' work. Its a very interesting film with memorable characters with motivations you can't see.
The film is so very nice to look at but for me doesn't have as strong a presence of something like The Lobster. This is a historical work so I can see restrictions in the imagination that we are used to seeing from Lanthimos but its still a very interesting work because of the intricacies of the relationship between the three leads and how mad they become as the film goes along. its prim and proper in appearance but there's a royal madness to it all. Its worth the watch, and I'm excited for the next chapter of work from the filmmaker.
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