Cast: Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Synopsis: The Favourite – duck racing and orange throwing, just your average period drama!
Set in early 18th century England, where Queen Anne (Colman) rules, England is at war with
the French. Anne suffers with physical ailments as well as mental torture from previous
traumas. Lady Sarah (Weisz), Queen Anne’s confidant and lover, helps govern the country.
But when new servant, Abigail (Stone) arrives, the games really begin.
Review: Let’s get one thing straight, The Favourite is not your standard period drama. In
fact, if it weren’t for the costumes and setting you might not be able to call it a period
drama at all.
It's crude. Visceral. Unashamed.
It is a film that creates a world of love, betrayal and ambition. However, regardless of time and status, it is quintessentially a ‘power’ triangle.
Lady Sarah has been Queen Anne’s confidante for years and is brutally honest with her. She
helps her in every aspect of her life, ranging from matters of state to her ill health. Abigail
(Stone) arrives to work as a servant, but quickly and slyly works her way up from a scullery
maid to compete for Queen Anne’s time and attention. What follows is a hilarious and quite
vulgar battle for the Queen’s affections:
Abigail: You’re so beautiful.
Queen Anne: Stop it. You mock me.
Abigail: I do not. If I were a man, I would ravish you. Ravish you.
Queen Anne: Enough.
Abigail: I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
The film may be set during a time of war but we are kept very close to its characters by
rarely leaving the home of Queen Anne. With the bold cinematography, lingering music,
close ups and sharp chapter cuts, we are thrown into their world, whether we like it or not.
All three actresses provide brilliant, award-winning performances, but there should also be
a special mention to manipulative Harley (Nicholas Hoult) and frustrated Masham (Joe
The cinematography by Robbie Ryan is intense and somewhat claustrophobic. His
use of various filters allows you to feel as though you aren’t watching a film, but are a fly on
the wall. There are times when the classical twangs of composed music resound for so long
that they begin to throb against your eardrums, begging you to question whether you are
still hearing the music, or if it is just in your head.
Each element of the film has been cleverly thought out and put together to create an exciting, if not at times tiring, cinematic venture. An unconventional period drama that shines in many ways. Overall, 7.5/10.
Written by Rebecca Perkin