Director Yorgos Lanthimos always blends suspense and humor in a way that isn’t jarring. “Killing of a Sacred Deer” and “The Lobster” are both excellent examples on how comic relief should be used in film. “The Favourite” starring Emma Stone as Abigail, Rachel Weisz as Lady Sarah, and Olivia Colman as Queen Anne must be added to the list as Lanthimos effortlessly blends these two extremes.
The movie has been nominated for 10 Oscars – two for Stone and Weisz as best supporting actress, and one for Colman – for best leading actress. Needless to say, the acting in this movie is phenomenal. This may even be Stone’s best performance to date.
The plot is loosely based on historical events with an eerie and entertaining presentation. The writing presents itself to be a rags-to-riches story, but it quickly spirals into something more sinister.
Stone’s character reflects what we think to be a cheery and optimistic maid who just wants what is best for the queen.
Weisz’s is portrayed as a woman who cares about the queen, but can be brutally honest and, at times, harsh.
The contrast between the two characters’ love for the queen is clear, and this brings up a “friendly” rivalry to earn her love. We find out that the relationship between these two and the queen is much deeper than we were initially led to believe.
The movie provides an interesting perspective on Queen Anne and how she is as a woman, rather than a queen. While a queen is supposed to have everything in the world, Anne seemingly has nothing that matters to her.
While the underlying theme of sexuality is prevalent throughout the film, it’s not the foundation of the film itself. It’s not thrown in for the sake of lazy representation, and the characters are not defined by the gender they are attracted to, which makes the characters feel more genuine.
Aside from a handful of oddly placed fisheye lens shots, the cinematography in the film is gorgeous. Many of the shots featured natural lighting, and scenes glowed from candlelight and sunbeams shining through the palace windows.
The sound editing in the film ensures all the music and sound effects serve a purpose and are not just put in because they can be. It reinforces the idea that sound can be just as important to a story as visuals.
While some viewers may be taken aback by its somewhat darker humor, it never escapes the realms of reality.
This movie has a couple of scenes that some viewers may find disturbing, as the movie doesn’t shy away from depicting sexual assault.
It’s a shame that this movie wasn’t as profitable as it deserves to be, as it seems to be made from a place of passion rather than greed.
But hey, maybe it will receive the respect it deserves once the Oscars roll around.
“The Favourite” earns its title.