Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
YouTube review - Coming soon
2018 list - Coming next week
I was looking forward to this film but not on the level that I should have been. Maybe it was my average expectations or maybe it was the fact that Sacred Deer underwhelmed me. Regardless, this film blew me away (from a filmmaking perspective). The choices made here are straight up brilliant. A period piece filmed (somewhat) in fisheye? Keeping the camera at a distance; feeling a detachment from these characters? That was such an odd choice. It was an odd choice that paid dividends. This is why I leave the directing to the big boys because I just found the filmmaking a bit strange in the trailers.
Lanthimos always brings this style but I feel as if it’s elevated here. I also assumed he would make this a bit differently, considering the material. My expectations aside, I was blown away by the end result. This film has stuck with me since I first walked out of the theater. I did find the story a bit odd and quirky; but that is part of the fun. You expect a movie, set in a time of great tragedy, to have a deadly serious tone. “Serious” gets thrown out the window from the first scene and it never regresses. The subtle humor combined with on-the-nose humor provides two different kinds of laughter. I was chuckling quite often through the film.
The jokes are witty and the dialogue elevates everything. Not that it needed to be elevated because the performances are out of this world. Let me retract; the performances are completely grounded (but still out of this world). All three women deserve nominations; even though it is hard to tell who was the lead and who was supporting. Hoult is someone who is not being talked about enough. This may be one of my favorite performances from him yet. Combine all of these elements that I have mentioned so far; and you have yourself a great film. But honestly, the reason this movie is a standout for me is the story progression.
Certain scenes carry on a bit too long but they’re all leading to this mad twist of events. You know it’s coming from his past films but you don’t know which direction it will take. I can promise you that the first twist completely caught me off guard and they continue throughout. Stone owns this character who aims to please, yet wants to do what is “best” for herself. Subtle lines delivered in the beginning, from each, come back to play heavily towards the end. The odd nature of some of the scenes and just the decisions with each camera angle are fascinating to think about. Overall, The Favourite has all of the makings of something that I shouldn’t love but it won me over. And the ending is something to theorize about.
🔜Mary Poppins Returns