Benjamin Green’s review published on Letterboxd:
296/1001 seen of movies must see before you die
Manipulation; skillful handling, controlling or using of someone. Do women do this best?
18th-century England, Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) sits upon the throne and is close with Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) who undertakes the majority of the Queens responsibilities. This relationship is interrupted when Sarah's cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives with her own ambition of reinstating her standing.
The detail that went into location, set designs, costumes and choice of score is evident from the opening scene but it's the powerhouse performances of Coleman, Stone and Weisz that take centre stage. All recognised with nominations at the Academy Awards the acting on display is a masterclass. The screen time between the three is evenly balanced, allowing each character to state their claim and allow the audience to take sides
Whilst seemingly a simple plot the film offers depth; manipulation, ambition, determination and jealously is seen through the actions of these women as their agendas take control and make them narrow sighted. The final shot of the film is ambiguous, a facial expression of realisation perhaps. As the credits role you review who has come out on top. Abigail had been so caught up in reclaiming her standing at all costs that perhaps she failed to consider whether it was worth it in the end. What life had she earned really?
Director Yorgos Lanthimos (The killing of a sacred deer, The Lobster) has provided the audience with a rich tale that entertains and showcases some fantastic performances. Whilst considered his most accessible film, The Favourite still offers an examination of bizarre and offbeat characters.