The Favourite

The Favourite ★★★½

If Amadeus, Dangerous Liaisons, The Death of Stalin, and All About Eve were pieces of clay, and they were all mashed together to form one large hunk of clay, that large hunk of clay would be The Favourite. It's a punchy (sometimes literally), quick-witted, disturbing satire. The acting is superb, the setting is sumptuous, and the story is not only enticing and unique, but also perfectly framed in a historical context while retaining a sense of modernity. It is heartbreaking, bitingly funny, salacious, and grotesque.

Some of its technical aspects were a detractor to me: I don't really understand the purpose of the fish eye lens, and I found the "chapters" to be completely unnecessary. And I will say that the pacing wasn't as well done as some of the other aforementioned aspects of the movie, but I couldn't have done any better so I guess I shouldn't complain.

But overall The Favourite is incredibly fresh-- a term I don't really use all that often because I think it's overused and has thus been rendered somewhat meaningless. But I think it's the perfect word for it. The film may not be revolutionary, but Lanthimos managed to take content that could have been a stodgy historical film and make something sexy, youthful, and fun. It's about power in the hands of women, which is a relatively unexplored theme in film. In doing so, it never falls into preachiness. And, even more importantly in my eyes, it never places our current sensibilities of feminism onto these characters. Obviously this movie isn't meant to be a time capsule, but it stays true to the zeitgeist of when it takes place. However, it is a movie about women: depressed, hungry, flawed, selfish, strong, weak, competitive, wily. I suppose that in itself makes it a feminist film.

The Favourite was a pleasant surprise, albeit not a perfect one. I'm excited to see the Oscars this year. Last year, I honestly don't remember one exciting role that was put up for Best Actress/Best Supporting Actress. But between this and Roma, we've got quite a few to choose from. Cheers to that!

halley liked these reviews