January can be a tricky month, but one of the best bits about it is the fact that it heralds the start of Good Films in the Cinema. One of the ones that I’ve been itching to see is The Favourite and I really, really enjoyed it.
The Favourite is set during the reign of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman); but she is often too frail to show an interest in affairs of state. Her confidante Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs in her stead, as England fights against France. The arrival of Abigail (Emma Stone) whose charm endears her to the Queen, and whose ambition threatens to damage Lady Sarah’s and her allies hold over the country, is where the drama really lies.
Written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, the film is quite a riot and frequently laugh out loud funny; whilst also giving space to some of the more moving reflections around the Queen’s very specific loneliness. Yorgos Lanthimos brings a really unique flair to the piece; with wide camera shots at times, excellent use of slow-motion where necessary and spending a lot of time on the faces of Colman, Weisz and Stone which really give a window into their characters. Sandy Powell’s costuming is also excellent, I especially loved Lady Sarah’s riding costumes which almost make me want to jump on a horse myself.
This film would be nothing without the performances of its central trio however. Colman is brilliant as the fickle, childish but ultimately lonely Queen Anne, surrounded by rabbits commemorating her deceased children. Weisz is excellent as the chilly but devoted Lady Sarah who I ended up liking in surprise, there was something very frustrating about seeing someone with political understanding and vision, who could exert her influence has a second-hand woman to the Queen. As the final piece of the triangle, Stone is good as the at first charming & wide-eyed Abigail who you warm too instantly, and is good at taking her on a journey through the ranks of court as she uses those around her for her own gain. The men (refreshingly) take something of a back seat in this film, but I enjoyed Nicholas Hoult’s waspish performance as Harley, the leader of the opposing political party who sees Abigail as an opportunity.
The Favourite is a really good film, and I really recommend watching it. I’m so excited to see Colman, who I love in everything, getting the international credit she deserves too.