The Favourite

The Favourite ★★★★½

This is probably Yorgos Lanthimos' most accessible film, which certainly isn't a bad thing. That could be because he doesn't have a writing credit for the screenplay, but I think in a lot of ways this film feels more seasoned and mature than his other work. Presentationally, Lanthimos certainly doesn't sacrifice his style, but these elements feel much more intentional in regards to what's being presented thematically.

The ultra-wide, omniscient cinematography and blunt, reserved performances are a constant reminder of what The Favourite is: a period piece that rejects the very essence of what that label suggests. Every crude piece of dialogue and every cringe-inducing piece of physical imagery (blood, vomit, the whole nine) is so essential in crafting the backdrop for a story that is in of itself an inversion of what history has told. On an aesthetic level, I fucking love what this film accomplishes in turning this genre on its head. 

The screenplay is so subtly patient and well-crafted. Without you even really realizing, a house of cards is constructed, and the moment in which they begin to topple is so slick and satisfying. There is a delicious sense of tension and consequence to the second half of this film, things presented so honestly that the audience can begin to unravel the complexities within the story without the film needing to shove it in your face.

I really loved this. I guess my only complaint is that the third act started to drag a bit, but that's a pretty menial issue overall. As I make my way through his filmography, I feel that I can always depend on quality from Lanthimos and his work. Production design and cinematography and editing and nearly all other technical elements are consistently outstanding, you really get a sense that what you're seeing is made by someone who is a master of their craft. Of course, assurance in that quality opens the doors for excellent, intelligent statements and storytelling. This film is great! And the three leads are magnificent, good lord.