👻—jamie<3’s review published on Letterboxd:
Long Review Coming Up!
The Favourite can be easily identified as a film about power: how it affects people, how it can corrupt people, but most importantly how quickly and without mercy it can change. in fact, looking deeper beneath the surface, The Favourite is almost entirely about change. the two leads of the story, Abigail and Sarah, change not only within the world of the film, but within the eyes of the viewer. This is done to masterful effect.
at the beginning of the story, Abigail is our protagonist, and at the lowest level of power in the royal court; she's even bullied and teased by the other servants, giving us a strong sense of empathy for her from us as viewers, which drives her story and our engagement. over the course of the film, not only does Abigail's power rise, but our respect for her as a protagonist falls drastically. she has become a cruel, cold, selfish woman, with no empathy or sympathy for anybody but herself. we begin to lose all respect for her. by the end of the film, she is at the most powerful she can be, with direct access to and control over the queen. it seems she has achieved what she wanted: complete and total power. and yet suddenly, she is once again underneath the queen. Anne has lost all interest in her, commanding her around, ignoring her presence completely, until that final, devastating shot: Abigail and Anne, detached from each other, from themselves; Abigail has gained everything she wanted, but has never felt more small. Anne has lost her true favourite, not realising how much she needed her. angry, sad, and alone, they stare into space for what seems like an eternity. nothing is the same as what it was in the beginning; change of power has brought nothing of destruction and depression.
who we perceive to be the main antagonist of the story at the beginning, Sarah is as close as you can get to the queen: her favourite. in a way, Sarah is in fact more powerful than the queen herself, pulling her strings, controlling her decisions, with a strong grasp on the government. she decide what the queen thinks, what she says, and what she does. as Abigail's power grows, Sarah's power diminishes. occasionally making various grasps at the power she once held, she can't hold on forever: Abigail takes over as favourite. Abigail leaves court, and eventually is exiled. however, she remains composed, and maintains that she is still above Abigail and in fact the queen: "Do you really think you've won?" in the end, once again, her position changes drastically, and our view on her does too. she is now who we are rooting for; she was the real protagonist from the beginning.
so in conclusion, not only does power shift and change constantly, so do our views of every single character. this film is so good okay let me write a rlly big review.