The Favourite ★★★★½

This film is the surprise entry of the year for me, because I've, let's say, less than liked both of the other Yorgos films I've seen? But man, I absolutely adored this. Going into it, I was expecting to hate it again due to my track record with the Greek filmmaker, but within minutes I knew that this experience would be right up my alley. It's a cry for mastery, a perfection in dark comedy, a lesson in drama, an acting masterclass and what brings a director from auteur to master. It challenges normality, has strengths where others do not, and makes perfection of what it can. The Favourite is basically a sardonically funny, visually stupendous, acerbic, piercingly juicy version of All About Eve written by a perverted Jane Austen as if directed by a drunken Joe Wright.

Yorgos' mastery over performances, over cinematography, over sound, over the physical look of the sets and costumes, it has his mark all over it. And by the day, does it come to fruition in an ablaze of glory. This film is distinct, yet its flavor is certainly more palatable than his other features, while Lanthimos' strong flavor is still unwavered. While it is far more accessible than his other films, it remains subliminal. From a technical standpoint this film is just delicious. The remarkable sound-design adds to the eeriness, love, endearingness and fear of every scene. The sets all feel real, the on-location shooting is effective, and the cinematography is highly unique. The makeup and hair styling were also of the highest quality; They were messy, fun, outrageous, immersive, all the marks they aimed for were hit. These factors all weighed in, especially the wigs and 'Badger' looking makeup are what historically sold the time period, as well as supplementing the narrative, setting the greatest backdrop for the direction and performances.

The acting deserves all of the praise here. The main trio is brilliant, and they bounce off of each other with aplomb. Nicolas Hoult is shamefully being forgotten because he's overshadowed by this elite trio, but he is as impressive as the others. Olivia Colman does slowly tower above the rest though during its runningtime. Her performance is enough to see this film; Her character was tragic, hilarious, deeply troubled, and yet a frightening reflection of what could happen to anyone. This character was far more compelling than I had expected her to be, thanks solely to Colman's performance.

Despite some of the issues I had with it (it loses some steam and humor in the final act, and some of Yorgos' pompous pretentiousness is still very much present), The Favourite is a film that still managed to heartily crack my top 10 of the year. A spectacularly original and unique film, bound to be seen again and again in the future. The more I think about it, the more I love it, so it might rise even more on my list ascending into 4.5 star territory.

Now #2 on: [2018] – What I’ve Seen – [Ranked]

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