“You know how some costume epics can be such a bloody bore? Not The Favourite. It’s a bawdy, brilliant triumph, directed by Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos with all the artistic reach and renegade deviltry he brought to Dogtooth (2009), The Lobster (2015) and The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017). Olivia Colman deserves every acting prize on the planet for finding the tragicomic core of Queen Anne, the monarch who ruled Great Britain in the early 18th century, mostly from her chambers. Gout has covered Anne’s legs in leaking sores; her memory is slipping; and she keeps 17 bunnies running around the palace to replace the 17 children she birthed and lost. Her Royal Highness leaves the business of ruling to Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz, razor-sharp and sensational), who sleeps with the queen to make sure she’ll continue to aid her husband Lord Marlborough (Mark Gatiss), out commanding the army in Britain’s continuing war with the French.
Enter Abigail Hill (Emma Stone, flat-out fabulous), Churchill’s cousin whose gambler of a late father has disgraced their noble family… Sarah quickly dispatches her to scullery maid service. But in this frock-opera version of All About Eve, Abigail is soon working her way into the queen’s good graces, not to mention her bed.
… The Favourite belongs to its fierce, profanely funny female trio. Weisz and Stone are dynamos who never let you forget they’re battling a power structure fueled by testosterone. It’s #TimesUp for those bewigged dudes. And deep bows to Colman, who can move from hilarity (watch the queen rage when Sarah says she looks like a badger) to heartbreak as Anne becomes increasingly immobilized by her body while her mind bristles with clarity. That’s Lanthimos for you, never one to settle for one tone when he can throw a whole parade at you. Best of all, he makes us care about this women warriors who, without compromising their strength, also reveal their vulnerability and sorrow. It’s a creative burst that’s as profound as it is playful.”
Taken from: ‘The Favourite’ Movie Review: Welcome to ‘All About Eve’ in Corsets, written by Peter Travers for Rolling Stone, November 20, 2018.
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