Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.
Yargos Lanthimos has been qouted as saying:
“When you make a film set in another time it is always interesting to see how it relates to our time--you realize how few things have changed apart from the costumes and the fact that we have electricity or internet. There are so many ongoing similarities in human behaviour, societies and power.”
Let me just say from the outset The Favourite is a great film and one of the best of 2018. The humor is dead on and Lanthimos's ability to set characters at odds in a very serious way yet still making you laugh way is simply amazing.
All three leads in this film, Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz are fantastic with each bringing something different to the film. Colman, plays the role of Queen with such prentention and frailty that you can't help but empathize one minute while in the next thinking she received just what she deserved. Rachel Weisz is superb as the Queens mistress and confident and Emma Stone shines as the young debutante if not so young and not so innocent...
The final thing for me that sets this film apart as one of the best of 2018 is the use of camera lenses. Lanthimos uses a moving fish-eye lens that both distorts and gives these lavish giant castle rooms a feeling of being claustrophobic. There is also a great use of sound as dialogue that will appear in the next scene often begins in the one your viewing.
Add in a great score, beautiful cinematography and The Favourite is a masterpiece that is worthy of your time and attention.