The Favourite

The Favourite ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.


Not one other Best Picture nominee comes even close to The Favourite. Not even close. The three actresses are GREAT, but my favorite is Rachel Weisz. The true supporting player, the smartest and most manipulative of the three, she also plays the most complex character, trumping Abigail's "I'm on my side" phylosophy with something more kingdom-encompassing, while evidencing what quite obviously are the only sincere feelings on the film: yes, she might lie to the Queen, and go to great lengths to influence every aspect of war, but her relationship with her was sincere. When she's ousted from her chambers and tells her she'll always say when she's looking ugly because that's love, that made the film work for me aside from the humor and the extravaganza and the plotting.

The Favourite also has the luck of being luxuriously directed, marvelously written and just spectacular in every front. Even outside the winning trio, even Hoult might have warranted a supporting nod. This is my favorite Emma Stone performance (miles ahead of La La Land's blander, most mainstream-appealing turn) and while I would favor Weisz since they're sharing category, I do thing her and Colman would be the true leads in this: the classic fallen-from-grace power-hungry fake-ingenue and the iconic over-the-cuckoo Queen at the core of this story. Emma has great comedic timing, even if she's not as strong as Weisz in her most Dangerous Liaisons-like moments, while Colman unveils unexpected layers to her demented, deranged and just deeply insecure and lonely character. The main reason to love this and be caught in its storm is appreciating how rare it is to have three actresses at the peak of their games devouring a film that allows them to be as nasty and evil as one can think of, reserving the peripheral, unimportant roles to men.

In the end, I can't have been the only one wishing for a Queen Anne-Lady Sarah reconciliation, but in true Lanthimos fashion, every character ends up nailed by their own actions: I do believe Sarah loved the Queen, and she'd write a letter, and lie and manipulate if that means mantaining a place from where to be the one who truly rules the kingdom. But knowing she's been defeated, she's prideful enough to say she's suddenly tired of England and resume her life somewhere else. Unlike her, Abigail ends up exactly where her father left her when she lost her at a game of cards; knowing Sarah -the only one who truly cared about her- won't come back, and she's stuck with a cruel, rotten-hearted, cheaper copy of her, the Queen spends the last minutes of the film doing what she does best, abusing her power to feel better about herself and hurt those who make her feel lonely. As we see through Abigail's disconnected, horrified stare, it suddenly downs on her while she's forced to massage the Queen's feet that she hasn't won, and Sarah has been playing the bigger game: so long as she depends on the Queen's favor, married to a puppet-man she can command, every ounce of safety and independece she feels for herself is nothing but a lie. Not unlike the fragile rabbit she was about to step on mere seconds before, she's a tantrum and a pressing heel away from being back where she started.

A serve. A hole-ass serve.

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