The Favourite ★★★★½

"I must take control of my circumstance. I will need to act in a way that meets with the edges of my morality. And when I end up on the street selling my arsehole to syphilitic soldiers, steadfast morality will be a fucking nonsense that will mock me daily."


Hatfield House is the place where 85% of The Favourite was filmed.
Hatfield House is located in Hatfield, in the county of Hertfordshire.
Hertfordshire contains the town of Stevenage.
Stevenage is about 12 miles away from Hatfield House.
And most significantly here, Stevenage is my hometown, where I was born and raised for 13 years of my life.
Which is all to say that I grew up just a stone's throw away from the place where present-day Oscar-winner The Favourite was primarily filmed (as well as also being a location used in Batman Begins, Hot Fuzz, The King's Speech, Paddington, and Wonder Woman)!
Is the link that I'm drawing between myself and this film totally inconsequential, superfluous, and grossly absurd?
Am I still going to peddle this stupendously tenuous link I've drawn, regardless of how lacking in importance it actually is?
You bet your ass I am!

Rachel Weisz's character of Sarah Churchill is, in real life, an ancestor of Winston Churchill (go figure), and Princess Diana (holy moly).
This isn't particularly relevant to anything else in this review, I just thought it was interesting.

This film acts as a long-belated About A Boy reunion between Rachel Weisz and Nicholas Hoult, where Hoult has dramatically shot up from being a smol precocious prepubescent kid, to the strapping young-Tom-Cruise-alike man he is today, who looks like he looms about a foot taller than Weisz in every scene they share together herein; and Weisz, meanwhile, looks... well, exactly the garsh darn same as she did in About A Boy circa 2002, because Weisz is in the same Ageless Celebrity Vampire Club as Paul Rudd, Keanu Reeves, Gwen Stefani, Ming-Na Wen, Samuel L. Jackson, and [insert further example(s) here]!

This being the first film Yorgos Lanthimos has directed without having had a hand in writing the script, it also marks the first film of his that I've seen where Lanthimos doesn't direct his actors to perform with zero human emotion or affectation, nor speak in clipped staccato monotone sentences, in order to heighten the wryly darkly comic, unnervingly unnatural worlds his films inhabit.
It is, therefore, not completely inconsiderable to argue that this is one of the many reasons behind The Favourite becoming Yorgos' most popular, accessible, and awards-laden film to date.

Olivia Colman was a QUEEEEN! long before this movie nabbed her an Oscar for playing a literal historical Queen (and before she was cast as our present-day Queen in The Crown); but hey, if my calculations are correct, that just means she's now triply queen-y!
So that's all good then.
(And yes, that was an intentional reference to Twenty Twelve, the BBC comedy that she was in way back when, alongside Hugh Bonneville as her unrequited love interest. (I can never forgive the spin-off, W1A, for breaking them up. I resoundingly reject that as canon, goddammit!!))

With regards to Emma Stone, it is to be noted that even as much as I fell in love with her yet again (because Emma Stone sporting a poshly cut-glass English accent is more than my puny little heart can take), this is also the first time I've ever felt genuine repulsion towards a character she's portrayed (because... y'know... the rabbit moment).

Fish-eye lenses have never been better implemented in a motion picture.
Change my mind!!

For a movie this acerbically hilarious and farcically bawdy, I sure was not expecting the final scene (and final shot (or rather, collage of final shots)) to be so mercilessly heart-wrenching, so brutally bleak, and so impossibly drained of light or hope.
Even by Yorgos' usual standard of his films signing off with nihilistically harsh conclusions, this ending hurt; this ending cut deep.
And maybe that's because of that notion I raised back in FUN FACT #4, of how this is the first time the characters in a Yorgos film feel like actual humans, with passion and fury and lust and feelings, which allows us as an audience to connect with these three women who serve as our protagonists; even at their most monstrous and despicable, there remains a recognisable flawed humanity to their motives and actions... which makes it all the more devastating when the finale comes to pass.

And lastly,
As it turns out, "FUN FACT #8" wasn't actually all that fun...

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