The Favourite

The nadir of Yorgos Lanthimos’ uniformly underwhelming body of work, The Favourite follows a pair of 18th century figures (Rachel Weisz’s Lady Sarah and Emma Stone’s Abigail) as they compete to win the attention and affection of a mentally-unbalanced Queen Anne (Olivia Colman). It’s clear immediately that The Favourite’s biggest (and perhaps only) asset is Lanthimos’ typically off-the-wall visual sensibilities, as the director, working from an impenetrable screenplay by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, juices even the most mundane of sequences with eye-catching instances of unusual (and, occasionally, distracting) cinematography (ie the movie seems to set a new record for sequences shot through a fish-eye lens). There’s little doubt, then, that Lanthimos’ refusal (or inability) to provide an entry point for the viewer paves the way for a momentum-free midsection that grows less and less interesting (and tolerable), and it’s apparent, as well, that the movie’s total absence of fully-fleshed-out protagonists exacerbates the progressively tedious atmosphere – with this especially true of Colman’s tiresome turn as the one-note, tempestuous Queen Anne. Lanthimos’ repetitive, monotonous modus operandi ensures that The Favourite‘s second half is entirely devoid of elements designed to alleviate the crushingly interminable atmosphere, which ensures, certainly, that the whole thing peters out long before arriving at its laughably nonsensical conclusion – thus confirming the film’s place as an utter trainwreck that makes one long for the comparative mastery of Lanthimos’ earlier endeavors.

no stars out of ****

6 Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Those who see something akin to genius in this film are delusional to the point of self-absorption. As one would expect, the stars of the film shine brightly, but it’s reliance on a one trick-pony theme renders it ever more boring (I can’t think of any other word), and the interminably long sequence where the musical score demurs to someone apparently banging a kettle with a spoon (WHY???) finally convinced me that what I was actually watching was an updated version of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

  2. Some people should just give up on life.

  3. Apparently idiots get to write stuff on the internet. Dumbest reviewer ever.

  4. It’s a gloriously fun romp of a movie. Entertaining is spades with wonderful acting. Delicious cinema. Lanthimos as inventive as ever. This review? Hogwash.

  5. The ending was perplexing. The distortion of history ws appalling. Historians don’t support the notion that the spat between the two companions of the queen was a lovers quarrel. It doesn’t seem to support the existence of lesbian relationships at all. I conclude it’s there for commercial purposes only. It is unfortunate that lesbianism is till sensational when it is pretty normal and around us all the time. The acting was great but wasted.

  6. David – spot on review. As a screenwriter I would be vilified if I agreed with you… but I do. Pretentious squalor among brilliant performances. The score is also unbelievably intrusive.

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