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The Favourite (2018)

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The Favourite

The Favourite

About

  • Released


  • Rating


    7.7
  • Genre


    • Drama
    • History
    • Comedy

Overview

In 18th century England, the close relationship between Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill is threatened by the arrival of Sarah's cousin, Abigail Hill, resulting in a bitter rivalry between the two cousins to be the Queen's favourite.


Trailer

Credits

  • Olivia Colman
    Olivia Colman
    Queen Anne
  • Emma Stone
    Emma Stone
    Abigail Hill
  • Rachel Weisz
    Rachel Weisz
    Sarah Churchill
  • Nicholas Hoult
    Nicholas Hoult
    Robert Harley
  • Joe Alwyn
    Joe Alwyn
    Samuel Masham
  • Mark Gatiss
    Mark Gatiss
    John Churchill
This page uses the themoviedb.org API.

The Favourite (2018)

Best Picture Nominee

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The Awesome: Unexpectedly funny. Such a cracking script  that does what it's supposed to do, move the story forward or reveal characters below the surface. The three protagonists all deliver exploding acting performances worthy of their Oscar nominations. Abigail (Emma Stone), Sara (Rachel Weisz) and Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) are so magnetizing and just deliver their lines with such gusto and conviction, thanks to stellar dialogue, even when its profane it just packed a fun punch that I didn't expect in a film like this. Emma, Rachel, and Olivia were great, no denying that they enrich the film so much but I also have to mention Robert Harley (Nicholas Hoult), he is what I called the "Asshole for Peace" because while he is a jerk, he is the only one that genuinely fights for peace, except he can be just as manipulative and conniving but he plays the role so brilliantly that I felt he would have stolen the film if he had more scenes but don't worry he is in enough of them for you to love or despise him. I love that the story just moves forward the whole time, no over-long sentimental moments needed as these characters wear their sentiments on their sleeves.  The acting is very strong and convincing. The production design is top notch as every set, prop, costume, lighting, edit, sound, dialogue, camera angle and lens tells the story. The interior scenes will make you want to hit the pause and take in all the magnificent era wallpapers, art , fixtures, and furniture; there is one scene where I thought a real plant and vase were actually part of a background painting, sounds pretentious but it just looked cool the way it was done as it  tricks your eyes, at least it did for me. From the start, it really engaged my attention especially from the moment I heard the Queen being verbally abused--- in a period piece. The dance scene is popular for it's modern moves but for me the scene stands out because I couldn't figure out why the Queen's eyes were filling with water, was she in pain? Was she just sad? I couldn't figure it out...but when it was revealed, I was like ---- "wow, that's why!!, man, i'm starting to really unexpectedly like this." I think this film made me care and not care (in a good way) and then care again for characters more than any other film I have watched in a long time and this is credit to great storytelling and character development.

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The Good: The interweaving of the characters and situations really adds an interesting dynamic to the story because you expect things to be affected and fall like dominoes any time a character comes on the screen and that kept me glued to the story. The use of various lenses throughout the film I felt was an interesting touch and seemed to really work well for all it's quirkiness. The film is not about the period in time but about the agendas of the people allowed to be close to the Queen, some honorable and some not. The sets are amazing and the spacious rooms and hallways just add to the character of the film with it's royal opulence and yet we get to be close to the Queen and see her inner circle and it always feels like we are privileged to be doing so being the commoners we are here. I really liked how vast and "empty" the Queen's chambers were, it really made me feel sad for a person who owned an empire and yet seemed to have nothing. I always expect films like this to be proper and restrained but I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. While not full on raunchy---it does have it's shock dialogue, but it fits right in. While the actual ending seems to divide people, I found no issue with it because I think that is how we are supposed to always remember these characters in the end. The chapter titles were fun to read with the crazy spaced font but what was cool was that each one was an actual line of dialogue a character would eventually say in those upcoming scenes. I like that the world we are in has one peril almost worse than death and that is humiliation as everything revolves around status and influence, so with these characters, it seems humiliation is always just around the corner for any of them. The film has a heavy feel to it, what I mean is that every decision has so much weight behind it, the consequences are always high, none bigger than the decisions about the war as that situation is brilliantly sprinkled throughout the film and I ended up being like...."Oh yeah I forgot about the war going on!!", and that's credit to the script as it kept my attention on the characters even if the war is the most important thing and should be the most tense thing going on at the time. 

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The Bad: The film has no real subplots, they are hinted throughout but never followed as the main story is the only thing we follow and while I had no issue with it, you could leave at any point in the film and come back before it ends and not miss a lot. The film changes tones somewhat drastically in the last act and it kind of forgets the comedy a bit. I found the Queen to be such a caricature at the start of the film that I was afraid she was going to be like an SNL character in a Shakespeare play and fortunately Olivia Colman does a great job of keeping a balance. Other characters come across as cartoons but I think that over-the-top presentation was done to exaggerate the self-importance these characters feel. The changes in lenses and filters is always one that divides people and this film has them abundantly, from fish lenses to mega-wide shots, and that will bother those that find it distracting as your brain has to adjust to take things in and just as you are going to do that, we move to the next shot. There was a falling asleep scene that I had a hard time with because I felt it was such a violation of trust but it was treated like no big deal. I also felt Lady Marlboro's predicament was a bit odd considering how popular she must have been throughout the kingdom for her to endure her experience and wasn't thrilled how it was resolved because I wanted the claws to come out sharper than ever. 

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The Ugly: It's cartoonish, so if you want a serious period piece with serious characters and Godly vocabulary, you will be disappointed. The story is a simple and uses its conflict as the plot. The ending scene visuals did leave me a bit dissatisfied even if I do appreciate the analysis it generates. There is a major character twist that isn't exactly shocking but it's really fun if you don't see it coming , so I can't believe when reading some critic reviews, authors have spoiled that part of the film, I'm glad I had no idea it was coming. Despite the costumes and Cinderella-like appearance, this is not the period piece to watch with your 8-year old daughter as she will meet the "wanking man" in the first 15 minutes of the film. To folks that are accustomed to this genre, they might not find it as novel and interesting as I did. There are two scenes where we hear a loud screeching violin and in one of the instances it really goes on too long as it became annoying instead of complimentary.

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Final Verdict...4/5... For as much as I think I'm open-minded along comes a film like this which I would have completely ignored because of my own prejudice against foreign and domestic period piece dramas. I tend to find them slow, littered with societal norms, and lacking in exciting dialogue...but I'm glad I didn't miss this one.  I had no idea I could laugh so much watching a period piece dramedy. Watch this expecting a serious, stuffy, period piece and you will have a great, great time. I watched this as part of my Best Picture Nominee Viewing Challenge and figured I'd get out the way the films on that list I would not watch otherwise and this was the first one on the list. A film whose acting is it's strength and focus without sacrificing the grand visual spectacle. The Favourite was a surprise in every sense of the word. I went in really dreading having to watch this type of film and was very happy to have my expectations flipped on their head. Put it this way, see these screen shots I have chosen for this review, had you shown them to me and said, let's go watch this film, I would have asked you to seriously reconsider and it would have been my loss. 

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Edited by Con
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Fantastic review as always @Con!  Was looking forward to reading your thoughts on this film as it was my favourite out of all the nominations this year and my favourite film of the year overall.  

I’ve been a fan of Olivia Coleman since she was on a tv show in the UK called Peep Show and I love that her career has taken off in a huge way in the last few years.  She always comes across as so nice and genuine in all her interviews, as well as being very funny, so I hope she wins this year just to hear her speech.  If you want to see more of her I recommend a film called Tyrannosaur, which was the writing and directorial debut of another of my favourite actors, Paddy Considine.  It’s a brutal film about violently abusive relationships, but it’s an incredible film, well worth watching.

The writer and director of The Favourite is another favourite of mine, Yorgos Lanthimos.  If you enjoyed this you should check out Dogtooth, The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer.  

The Lobster is the less dark and intense of the three, but they are all pretty fucked up.

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1 hour ago, LimeGreenLegend said:

Fantastic review as always @Con!  Was looking forward to reading your thoughts on this film as it was my favourite out of all the nominations this year and my favourite film of the year overall.  

I’ve been a fan of Olivia Coleman since she was on a tv show in the UK called Peep Show and I love that her career has taken off in a huge way in the last few years.  She always comes across as so nice and genuine in all her interviews, as well as being very funny, so I hope she wins this year just to hear her speech.  If you want to see more of her I recommend a film called Tyrannosaur, which was the writing and directorial debut of another of my favourite actors, Paddy Considine.  It’s a brutal film about violently abusive relationships, but it’s an incredible film, well worth watching.

The writer and director of The Favourite is another favourite of mine, Yorgos Lanthimos.  If you enjoyed this you should check out Dogtooth, The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer.  

The Lobster is the less dark and intense of the three, but they are all pretty fucked up.

It's so funny how I can watch period pieces in the horror genre but when it comes to dramas, not so much. The Favourite really deserves a 5/5

but I personally was looking for a better conclusion with the Lady Marlboro situation as I  thought it was a big deal, something punishable whether karmic punishment or a human one and don't get one, but it's more of a personal wish than flaw in the story-telling.

I have been wanting to watch "Killing of a Sacred..." for a while now and just havent made time for it and now its gonna have to wait until I'm done watching all the Best Pic noms. Dogtooth is probably the Yorgos film I'm looking to forward to the most since hearing about it. I can certainly see why it can win Best Picture since it truly entertained me and was a bit upset when it ended cause I wanted more. 

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Just noticed this thread.

I saw this a couple of weeks ago. Whilst I like it, and it is a very good film, it seems to me it is getting the nominations and awards mainly for the technical things (well shot, great sets, lavish costumes) and being brilliantly acted. The basic story isn't funny nor historically accurate, but I don't think it's supposed to be either of those. It's classed a comedy more because it doesn't take itself too seriously and there are many funny / silly / weird moments, rather than having you laughing out loud. As far as I'm aware the makers never claimed it to be historically accurate. The main characters all existed and I think did most of the things they do publicly in the film. But no one can possibly know for sure what went on in private and a lot of the important scenes just feature a couple of the main characters in private.

To me the best thing that sums up what to expect from this film is that one of the credits is for a nameless character listed as "Nude pomegranate Tory". 

I'd give it 4.5 / 5, can't quite bring myself to rate it equally with my personal favourite films.

 

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27 minutes ago, djw180 said:

Just noticed this thread.

I saw this a couple of weeks ago. Whilst I like it, and it is a very good film, it seems to me it is getting the nominations and awards mainly for the technical things (well shot, great sets, lavish costumes) and being brilliantly acted. The basic story isn't funny nor historically accurate, but I don't think it's supposed to be either of those. It's classed a comedy more because it doesn't take itself too seriously and there are many funny / silly / weird moments, rather than having you laughing out loud. As far as I'm aware the makers never claimed it to be historically accurate. The main characters all existed and I think did most of the things they do publicly in the film. But no one can possibly know for sure what went on in private and a lot of the important scenes just feature a couple of the main characters in private.

To me the best thing that sums up what to expect from this film is that one of the credits is for a nameless character listed as "Nude pomegranate Tory". 

I'd give it 4.5 / 5, can't quite bring myself to rate it equally with my personal favourite films.

Thanks for that awesome review. I was waiting for someone from across the pond to post their opinion on this movie and you make a great point, no one really knows what these folks were behind closed doors, I mean, I believed their pettiness cause what else was there to do when you didnt have to worry about food and shelter and things the peasants had to deal with. I think you hit every nail on the head and like I said in my review, if you go into this expecting a stuffy period piece with little to get excited about, then you will have a blast with this because of the funny and silly moments. And like you said about that character credit, I laughed when i saw..."Wanking Man" in the credits. lmao. I watched A Star Is Born (review to come) and while GaGa is good, there is no way she should win the Oscar over Olivia, imho of course. 

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