The Favourite

The Favourite ★★★½

Being a partial Lanthimos cynic after my negative experience of The Lobster, I didn't quite know how I would react to this. Yet, the overwhelming amount of plaudits and the central cast drew me in and I decided to give it a try. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that that was a good thing, but the polarising nature of the film has left me a little...sh00k, for lack of a better term.

Imagine All About Eve set in a 18th Century royal court, but with way more sex and told through an obsidian black lens; then you have a faint idea. It's very similar to LOBSTER (which I sort of hated) in its excessive absurdity, but the grotesque farcery suits this disturbing period love triangle far more. While the film begins rather slowly and drearily, once the proceedings have begun, the wicked hilarity of Weisz and Stone's power struggle becomes outrageously funny and incredibly amusing. Both are great, and deserve all the accolades they've garnered. However, Colman is astonishing as the mad Queen, expertly walking the line between pathos and devilish humour with commendable skill. I've loved Olivia since her role in criminally under-watched BBC show Beautiful People, and I'm so glad she's finally getting the praise she's deserved for so long. Nicholas Hoult is hilarious, too.

Overall, I think it's just a case of not liking Lanthimos' directorial style (there's lots of weird shots and unnecessarily gaudy add-ons that sometimes feel too strange for their own good), but this is still a handsomely mounted, depraved comedy with lots to write home about. Overrated, but intensely, viciously enjoyable.

Brilliant Performances

January 2019, Ranked

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