The Favourite

The Favourite ★★★★½

To me Yorgos Lanthimos was the guy whose characters deliver lines like they were devoid of human emotion. Seeing The Favourite, opened my eyes to how great he is beyond character direction. The usage of the fish eye lens, the shot composition, all the little decisions just stood out to me. What he wanted the viewer to see, how he wanted the viewer to feel. Highlighting absurdity, which is the vast majority of the movie and then grounding everything down to a deeply depressing moment. It all just works so damn well.

The script is fantastic. The way the three women are entangled and at odds with each other makes for some phenomenal conflict. Queen Anne is depressed, Sarah is strict and sucks at communication and Abigail shows up and gives the queen the affection she's craving. A recipe for a juicy love triangle, which it is. The three characters are so well fleshed out with their desires strongly affirmed, their positive and negative qualities then playing the central part in how the characters are pit against one another. Also helps, that all three are phenomenally acted. Usually a movie like this has a clear central character, but The Favourite really provides an equal level of care to map out stories and arcs for all three characters, it's pretty hard to pinpoint a clear lead character out of the trio. The story could be told equally satisfyingly from any perspective and yet it manages to include in all three and make it work.

What I loved the best though was the tonal balancing act. The movie mostly plays up the absurdity for laughs and I loved every bit of it, but whenever it did turn serious, it didn't lose a beat and actually highlighted the dramatic impact. The endings is especially perfect.