The Favourite

The Favourite ★★★★★

It's weird that there's a Yorgos Lanthimos movie where I feel like I can actually discuss the plot a little bit.

His earlier movies Dogtooth, The Lobster, and Killing of a Sacred Deer all felt as if their surreal worlds should be reserved for fresh eyes. This is the first time (to my knowledge) Lanthimos is working from someone else's script in a relatively popular genre (the British Royalty costume drama). We're familiar with the chess pieces, but he plays with them in his own way, resulting in a film as unique as any of his more outwardly bizarre previous work.

Every character in The Favourite is scheming every other character for power and influence, yet they all seem to hope they'll get something more out of it, a personal and emotional sustenance. They will poison and manipulate and seduce and still be hurt when it happens to them. Human nature, amiright?

Rachel Weisz is born to play an ambitious top aide, but Emma Stone and especially Olivia Colman really surprise in their roles as a maid determined to be more than a maid, and a queen who, aside from the daily privilege, really doesn't want to be a queen.

Lanthimos makes excellent use of wild lenses in The Favourite, particularly a fish-eye for people moving from left to right, and a kind of - I'm not sure I'm describing this effectively - I don't know, it's as if the lens has walls on it, it distorts rooms as it moves across them? His vision of the rich upper class is as demented as their inner desires.

More "what the hell even is this?" funny than "haha" funny, yet I laughed more at this than many recent comedies. I'm not hearing a lot of awards chatter for The Favourite but it deserves to be in the mix.