“Some days I’m quite lovely, let’s think on them”Review by Lewis Goodall
The favourite, Directed by the brilliant Yorgos lanthimos, tells the story of Queen Anne (played by the incredible Olivia Coleman), a mad and frail woman during the 18th century French revolution. She sits on the throne with lady Sarah (played by the also incredible Rachael weisz) by her side as her loyal advisor and friend. When a new servant, Abigail (played by the also also incredible Emma Stone) turns up, things get heated between the two as a rivalry sparks to become the queens favourite.
This film plays out to the beat of the most intense game of chess you could possibly imagine. Maybe I’m just caught up in the time setting with kings, queens, castles and horses but it’s a perfect way to describe the back and forth that is portrayed between Stones and Weiszs characters. Each one one of them plays fierce characters that are beautifully acted, both want the same thing but for completely different reasons and both are willing to stop at nothing to rise to the top.
The fact that neither of these two won the oscar for best supporting actress is just one of the biggest insults to the academy awards. But the academy did get it right with Olivia Coleman. Her role as Queen Anne who is degenerating in health during the film is played perfectly to really portray someone descending in terms of wellbeing and sanity but also keeping the character light at heart to be loveable really pulls you in. If Olivia didnt win the academy award I think I wouldve set myself on fire, or atleast angrily complained to people around me to the point of annoying everyone.
All three actresses are seriously on the top of their game in this movie and makes it and incredibly tense watching them go head to head.
In terms of the added supporting roles in the film i also felt they were fantastically acted, especially to the character of Harley played by Nicolas Hoult who I feel deserves an added little shout out for his performance.
Capturing the look and feel of the 18th century shines in the film also. Presentation to draw you into the setting is done to a fine art, especially the fine art that was in the background, the costume design is impeccable and one of my favourite aspects of the movie is the score. I’m listening to the music as I write this and it is again incredible, the flamboyant instrumental at the beginning, decending into deeper notes and slower tempos as the films progresses adds to the performances and creates an atmosphere so tense and thick, like a bowl of thick soup trying to tense its abs, I dont know what I’m saying, the music is just perfect.
The screenplay for the film is also magnifico. This could’ve just been a typical historical drama and it still wouldve been good, but the added spice of chucking humour into the mix really adds to the film to humanize the characters and to draw you in. The humour comes very snappy and can be missed to you blink your eyes or close your ears for a moment and i feel It just works amazingly well. It’s enough to make it a laugh but isnt forced enough to distract from the story itself.
One of my favourite aspects of Yorgos’ work is the way to get the audience guessing, thinking long after the film is finished, (if you’ve seen the lobster you know exactly what in talking about) and he doesn’t disappoint with the favourite. Obviously I wont spoil the end but I feel it leaves it with a fantastic balance of questioning the end but not sacrificing a fulfilling ending which is very rare to come across from a film. I feel yorgos’ previous work has been working out how to nail a perfect end and I feel he nailed it with the favourite.
If I have to put a critical, bandaged eye to the film I would have two little things that I would say that stop it from being a perfect film. Some of the very very minor roles In the film, the caterers and servants that have speaking roles are acted just as stale as the bread they are serving, which can be a bit of a polar opposite when you have some of the finest acting bring pulled out from the 3 main women.
Also in regards to some of the editing with the film. I am a huge fan of the presentation like I mentioned at the beginning, and that extends to the way the film is shot as well, and it extends further to the fish eye lens shots that were used throughout the film. I love getting the whole scene in shot and being able to appreciate the whole design but I would say in a couple of scenes where it is used, it cuts quite quickly back and forth between fish eye and normal perspective which can also be a tiny bit jarring. These 2 aspects are a very minuscule drop in the bowl of rich creamy soup that I feel needs to be tried by everyone
In summary this film is damn near perfect, a literal hairline crack away from being perfect. Just everything in this film is done to a fine art and should be enjoyed by all. How it did’nt win more Oscars I will never know.