The Favourite

The Favourite ★★

2018 Ranked

At first instant, it seems that a dysfunctional love triangle would be a fitting story for Lanthimos to tell (the key word being “dysfunctional” of course). But as it becomes clear that visual opulence and politics of the throne are the strongest impressions The Favourite makes, we see that the film is less and less of a ‘Lanthimos’ film than we’ve seen before. And only spurts of often-vulgar comedy (the non-vulgar of which are seen in the film’s trailer) and the swapped roles of gender provide the film distinction from period drama of the past.

Gone is the surreal. The quick brutish movement (Dogtooth). The slow queasy dysphoria (The Killing of a Sacred Deer). The almost dialogue-less sequences. The blank, lifeless expressions. The Favourite is such a turn of the head away from the filmmaking that earned Lanthimos veneration, and while there are elements of The Favourite to praise, I can’t say that I felt particularly drawn into this film or its characters.