In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah governs the country in her stead. When a new servant Abigail arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.
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"The Favourite" is a period comedy about the palace connivings among the two rival best friends forever of Queen Anne of England (reigned 1702-1714): the domineering Sarah Churchill (played by Rachel Weisz), the first Duchess of Marlborough and ancestress of Winston Churchill and Princess Di, and Sarah's impoverished cousin Abigail Hill (Emma Stone). The movie...
At Least "Crazy Rich Asians" Didn't Get Any Oscar Nominations, by Steve Sailer
A lousy year for movies, as shown by the Oscar nominations for Best Picture: BlacKkKlansman and Vice are bad movies with bad directing by Spike Lee and Adam McKay, respectively. Vice has good casting but McKay isn't content to let his expert actors (Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush, all...
From The Forward: Not a good year for movies, so not a good year for Jews in the movie business. I should go back and look at older Forward articles like this, but this might be the worst year for Jews in movies in the last century. On the bright side ... Rachel Weisz is,...
THE FAVOURITE (Yorgos Lanthimos, Britain, 2018, 9)
Finally, Lanthimos sticks the landing, and does so after another enormously entertaining misanthropic black comedy that’s so singular that you wonder if there’s anything he can’t do. THE FAVOURITE doesn’t really much resemble his previous work in superficial and surface matters — the British Costume Drama template reins in the pure bizarrerie and will draw in the DOWNTON ABBEY fans without totally alienating them like DOGTOOTH would. And yet it’s unmistakably Lanthimos’s sense… more
I can see why this latest film from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos would get a lot of attention. It’s a visually sumptuous film that makes excellent use of the filmmaker’s toolbox as well as real-life palatial settings. Everything from the acting, to the script, to the cinematography, to the score, to the editing— all are excellently done and easy to appreciate. It felt Kubrickian in many parts, like a smaller, sillier Barry Lyndon. Lanthimos is never content to let a scene play out in a typical way. Because of this, you see a lot of things like fish eye lenses, extreme contrasts between light and dark, fascinating transitions, and other flares. For example, in one scene, Emma Stone’s and Rachel Weisz’s characters are speaking in a room. Outside their room in the palace, you hear gunshots from a game of pigeon-shooting. But as the scene transitions, we see Stone and Weisz shooting. It’s subtle, but you’re made to understand that you were hearing Stone’s and Weisz’s shooting, not somebody else’s, in the previous scene. In other words, the audio of the shooting game preceded the visual, and served as a lead-in that played with time in the way that only cinema can. There are other examples of these fascinating transitions that I thought really worked.
The other part of Lanthimos’s style is the over-reliance on shock value, which is where the film really lost me. I didn’t care for any of the characters, who were different levels of absurd and silly, never reaching beyond caricature. I also disagreed strongly with the tone of the film, which was much like another 2018 film I respected a lot more than i liked, The Death of Stalin. Both are considered black comedies, both are largely unfunny. They feel far too cynical, like a depressed comedian. And no, hearing 18th people saying the c-word over and over is not funny.
Lastly, while the acting was very impressive, I never felt drawn into these characters. Olivia Colman deserved her Oscar for a technically great performance, delivering exactly what the film required. But did I believe the real Queen Anne was anything like her? No. The performance was a modern creation. I actually never felt that any of the characters were real. All I could see were three famous actresses playing in costume at that Hampton Court Palace. The distinctly modern tone took me out of the time and place, making it all feel like a well-shot cosplay.
So you can see that my issues are largely with the too-modern, cynical tone. But there is more depth, and more to appreciate about The Favourite than I anticipated. For fans of period films, good acting, and good cinematography and editing, it’s one to check out. 2/4 or 2.5/5
P.S.— who can deny that the real star of The Favourite was the typography?
P.P.S.— @RXCafeTX on Twitter (read his blog at rickstexanreviews.com) wanted me to at least add "it's better than A Star is Born 4.0" to this review. And it is.
With The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, director Yorgos Lanthimos has become something of an awards-season/top-ten-list darling, one of those auteurs whose shots are rigorously framed and whose work lacks sentimentality and whose worldview is dark, dismissive of humanity’s humanity.
Alita Stomps on LEGO 2 Over Painful President’s Day Weekend
(”The Favourite” is briefly mentioned in this.)
In the movie Alita: Battle Angel, the titular hero tells us she “will not stand by in the presence of evil.” Apparently, she won’t stand by in the presence of LEGOs, either. Alita: Battle Angel hauled its collection of spare cyborg parts to the top of the box-office heap this weekend, collecting $27.8 million during […]
Oscars: The More Things Change, the More Things Stay the Same
(”The Favourite” is briefly mentioned in this.)
This year’s Oscars telecast was perhaps the first I remember where the actual telecast seemed a little anticlimactic at first. Kevin Hart’s going to be our host! No, wait, never mind! But we WILL have a popular movie category! No, no, scratch that, too! But we FOR SURE will hand out awards during commercial breaks! […]
Hollywood measures success in two ways: One, the amount of money it rakes in; and two, the number of Oscars its movies take home. And while 2018’s biggest financial winners have long been in the books (hint: pretty much everything that has a Stan Lee cameo in it would qualify), we’re a step closer to […]
1,941 words “To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies – and what’s his reason? I am a […]
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