The Favourite

The Favourite ★★★★★

"Aim for the flagstones, the lawn might break your fall"

I've been waiting to review this until I have fully comprehended every detail, but I don't think I'll ever stop noticing things on every rewatch. Every frame of this film looks like a painting, contrasting the biting words. Every choice here is calculated, balancing the macabre and the romantic, the desperate and the conniving. The screenplay may be the best thing I've ever read, every line is woven together into an ice cold take of broken ambition.

What gets me the most is the character dynamics. Abigail begins as the ingenue, coming up into the world of duck racing and power plays after a dark chapter. Every relationship she has is contrived, calculated to place her securely into the palace world. Anne is not the easily maniplulated weakling Abigail and Sarah have taken her to be. Destroyed by grief, she falls into the role of a victim to avoid taking responsibility. Yet even she has realized the falsehoods of Abigail's words, and her pleas for the mail are her first realization of who she had really loved. Sarah is the most fascinating. She's brutally honest, coming off as cruel so often that even she has begun to believe it. Her sarcasm hides who she truly cares for, but her love for Anne shines through once Abigail's empty compliments are preferred to her honesty. In the end, without Anne, she has the life that the rest of the palace thinks she wants. To Sarah, it looks like Abigail had won. All three women have lost the game, yet no one can know that they have.

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