Having not seen any of Yorgos Lanthimos’ work before now, I went into The Favourite excited, but not sure what to expect. The film caught my attention because it’s set during the reign of Queen Anne of Great Britain (1665-1714), a royal that you don’t usually see depicted in film. The film is based on the true story of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and the struggle between two of her court favorites: Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz) and Abigail Masham (Emma Stone), her cousin. The film traces Abigail’s rise at court alongside Sarah’s simultaneous fall along with the various intrigues going on at the British court in the early 18th century.
The film is undeniably beautiful, both visually and musically (the soundtrack features a number of classical compositions that would have been appropriate for the time period). I love the dresses that Sarah and Abigail wear. I also like the attire Sarah wears whenever she goes shooting or riding (the tricorn hat and the grey coat). Most of the costumes are black, white or shades of grey, and I like that generally muted color palette.
One thing that surprised me is how sexual the film was. I knew there was going to be some romantic intrigue from the previews, but I had no idea (or I wasn’t paying enough attention) that there would be so much between Sarah and the Queen (and later Abigail and the Queen!) Watching Sarah and Abigail each manipulate Anne in their own way leads you to feel nothing but sympathy for the unhappy monarch. Having lost 17 children, all Anne wants is to be loved but she certainly doesn’t get any from Sarah, who at times is downright abusive in her behavior. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to feel any sympathy for Sarah or not (I certainly didn’t).
Overall I enjoyed The Favourite very much, but I have some trouble with the ending. Given the story up to that point, the last scene felt like a strange way to end the film and I wasn’t quite sure what message I was supposed to receive from it (though I suspect a rewatch would help to enlighten me). That still didn’t stop me from enjoying the film and I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet. Colman, Stone and Weisz fully deserve all of the nominations they’ve received thus far.
What did you think of The Favourite? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!
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