The Favourite

The Favourite ★★★★★

My first cinema trip of 2019, and what an incredible way to kick off the new year. The Favourite, the latest venture from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, proves that he is in fact one of the most talented, unique artists working today. Set in the early 18th century amidst the royal court of Queen Anne, it's a powerful examination of both personal and societal themes, aided by some of the most phenomenal acting of the decade.

Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone have already garnered countless nominations and awards for their performances in this film, and it really is no surprise.

Colman is simply immense as Queen Anne, flawlessly going through a myriad of emotions from madness to grief, often in a matter of seconds. It's an intensely physical performance, especially in the final act wherein she really blew me away. It's wonderful to see an actress of her age, whose career has transcended from minor roles in films such as Hot Fuzz and The Iron Lady to this absolute masterclass.

Emma Stone, off the back of an Academy Award winning role in La La Land, firmly solidifies herself as the finest actress of her generation. Her English accent is absolutely perfect throughout, and she evolves over the course of the film in an entirely unexpected way. My feelings towards her at the end of the film were practically the complete opposite of how I felt at its opening. It's a masterful depiction of greed, apathy and deceit in easily the finest work of her relatively short career, even taking her wonderful performance in La La Land into account.

Saving my personal favourite of the trio for last, we have Rachel Weisz. She has done great work with Lanthimos before in The Lobster, but this goes far beyond that. At the beginning of the film she appears to be a cold, calculating persona, a relatively straightforward antagonistic presence in the film. Little could one imagine that over the following two hours, we see the development of one of the most soulful, witty, and intelligent female characters ever put to screen. She conveys searing heartache and seething rage with the utmost of ease.

After all that gushing about the performances, one would imagine that I have little to say about the technical aspects of the film. In reality, I could go on endlessly about how Robbie Ryan's camerawork is mesmerisingly dynamic, how Sandy Powell's costumes are as intricate as they are eye-catching, and how Fiona Crombie's set design perfectly evokes the world of the royal court. It's an utter marvel in film-making and an absolute joy to take in. I cannot wait to see it again.

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