Starring: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, Mark Gatiss
Written By: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
Directed By: Yorgos Lanthimos
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Buy On Amazon.com
The Favourite is the latest period drama that was nominated for some awards, and even won an award or two as well. I think this movie will be one that people either love or hate. Unfortunately, I think I’m in the later category.
The movie is set in 18th century England and is about two cousins, Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz), Duchess of Marlborough and Abigail Masham (Emma Stone), Baroness Masham, courting to be Queen Anne’s (Olivia Colman) favourite. Once Abigail shows up, she starts to gather intel and use it to her advantage to get in the good gracious of the ailing Queen. She would just have to step on a few toes, or rabbits to get there…
I was a fan of Yorgos Lanthimos’s previous movie The Lobster. It was a witty, absurd dark satire, well at least the first half. Towards the end, it got weird and the ending was frustrating with the way it ended. I guess you can say the same about this one except I didn’t really like this movie. I didn’t know anything The Favourite but wanted to see it because it was getting a lot of buzz. After seeing it, I just wasn’t crazy about it and I know i’m probably in the minority here. It was something about the way it was done that just feels like a misstep to me. This movie got lots of buzz and some awards, so I guess what the hell do I know? It was just sort of boring, weird, and hard to follow at times. Occasionally these hard-to-read title screens would pop up, and just adding to the confusion.
I like historical dramas but this just felt weird to me. It felt like Yorgos didn’t know what kind of movie to make or how to end it. I had to turn away when Abigail was starting to step on the bunny rabbit. I had to turn away for a scene in the Lobster as well, when Colin Farrell’s character was starting to stick a knife or fork into his eyeball. Yeah, I’ll pass on watching those scenes again. There were a few funny lines or moments but I wouldn’t really consider this a comedy. Satirical drama perhaps?
Another thing that bothered me was some of the music. There’s at least two scenes where the music was so irritating and repetitive that it was giving me a nervous tick. Once you thought it might end it just kept going and going. Other classical and baroque music was fine, but those two pieces were beyond annoying and took me out of the movie. I didn’t know much about the history of Queen Anne, but apparently some things were inaccurate but I don’t think it was meant to be a historical accurate biopic. I don’t think that bothered me as much as just the way the movie was structured.
I liked the acting from the three actresses but honestly, I thought Emma and Rachel were better than Olivia. Her role felt more like a supporting actress but even that I wouldn’t have voted for her if I was an Academy member. Nothing THAT special honestly. Nicholas Hoult’s character was somewhat funny, and the interaction Abigail had with Samuel was amusing too. For the most part, the main 3 characters were the stars of the movie and centered around the most. There were barely any supporting casts, at least notable ones besides the one I mentioned above.
The Favourite bonus features include deleted scenes, a featurette about the costume drama and a trailer. The one featurette is the one to watch since it has some great interviews with the cast. It was about 20 minutes long but other than that, that’s about it.
Not sure what it was, but I just couldn’t get into this movie and I really tried. It was too weird and slow at times. I liked the way it was shot, and the usage of wide angle lenses to make things seem…not right. As much as I liked and appreciated the dark satire approach in The Lobster, I didn’t care for it this time around. Perhaps if I watched this again, I would think differently about it but for right now. I wasn’t a fan.
The Favourite: Unstitching the Costume Drama
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect ratio: 1.84:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish
Bottom Line: Not my favourite…see what I did there!
Running Time: 120 mins