Movie Review: The Favourite (2018)

Title: The Favourite
Release Date: 23 November 2018
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Production Company: Scarlet Films | Element Pictures | Arcana | Film4 Productions | Waypoint Entertainment

In the early 18th century, Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), faces deteriorating health and a nation divided over continuing a war with France.  Anne’s advisor and lover Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) effectively runs the government in her stead. A distant cousin of Sarah’s, Abigail Hill (Emma Stone), arrives looking for after her family’s standing has been ruined by her father’s gambling.  Abigail than connives ways to get closer to Queen Anne in hopes of restoring herself to the aristocracy.  Thus begins the contest between Abigail and Sarah to be the Queen’s favourite.

I thought this would be a movie of palace intrigue and madcap antics, which it is, but it does not shy away from showing the toxic outcomes of the characters’ behavior.  The best part of this movie is seeing three of the top women in contemporary film at the top of their game.  Colman is particularly brilliant playing someone with stunted maturity who is suffering the ailments of age.  While Abigail may be the most callous character, Stone’s performance makes her likable and engaging right up to the movie’s denouement.

Rating: ***1/2