Love or love of power?

Cinephile No. 758 “The Favourite”

Recommendation: 3/5 Stars, Stream

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos. Writers: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara. Starring: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz

Plot: “In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne (Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Weisz) governs the country in her stead. When a new servant Abigail (Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.” -IMBD

Review: “The Favourite” is the most peculiar film I have seen this year. Centered on a sickly Queen Anne played by Olivia Colman in early 18th Century England, the monarch is a woman in desperate need of attention. Luckily for her, Lady Sarah played by Rachel Weisz is by her side to govern and meet her every need. This relationship works for both women, but a wrench is thrown into the arrangement when a new servant, Abigail, shows up at the castle door played by Emma Stone.

From the get-go, it is obvious Abigail is a charmer and possesses a unique ability to get her way. Very quickly, she begins rising up the ranks seizing every opportunity presented to her. When she uses herbs to soothe the queen’s gout, she becomes yet another person for Queen Anne to lean on in her hours of need. This gives birth to a hilarious and proper rivalry between Lady Sarah and Abigail. This is also the jumping off point for one of the darkest comedies I have seen this year.

With her new favorite, Queen Anne sets a beloved lesbian war into motion with the two rivals taking any opportunity to one-up the other. Entangled in a triangle of sex, lust, and power, Queen Anne is oblivious to it all. Between the two women at her side, there is a war brewing and true power is the prize to be won.

As “The Favourite” nears the end, it drags. At times, it doesn’t seem to know how to end. At the one hour and thirty-minute mark, it clearly made the point that these women are torn between love and love of power. With thirty more minutes to go, it moves from a film that I would recommend you seeing to one I think you should stream. Still, this ended up being one of the funniest movies I have seen this year and a movie I can’t wait to watch again with a fresh set of eyes.

Be good to each other,

Nathan

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