JakeBaker’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Have you come here to seduce me or rape me?
I’m a gentleman.
So you’ve come to rape me.”
Yorgos Lanthimos has yet another brilliant film he has added to his impressive filmography. This time around Yorgos only handles the director’s duties. We don’t see Yorgos write for The Favourite but I think that is what this film needed to be perfect. Don’t get me wrong, I love this movie but the consistent amount of Yorgos’s extremley unique film style isn’t always the main stay in The Favourite.
I think if Yorgos would’ve at least co-written this movie it would be absolutely perfect. Since he isn’t, the film has a meandering feel to it compared to his other films. It is indeed a slow-burn maybe even too slow at some points but the film always manages to pick up because of Yorgos still injecting this film with his signature style. Also I think the writing is at its worst with the ending. It was very much trying to be a Yorgos Lanthimos ending but it only comes off as a impersonation.
Like all of Yorgos’s films, The Favourite is still a master-craft of cinema from a technical standpoint. The score is infectious and very much like in Barry Lyndon, The Favourite uses natural light for the entirety of the film. Venturing down long hallways at night with only a candle placed here and there felt ultra realistic and that holds the same in almost every scene. The editing used here is fantastically used as well. There is a overuse of fade-ins and fade-outs that feel very much at home with this movie giving it a more chapter-esq tone while also using acts to separate the film into six or seven parts (I forgot).
Even more impressive is the immaculate costume design fused with extraordinary set pieces. The Favourite is a film about manipulation and I think the set pieces go perfectly with that theme. While the Queen’s palace is lavish and in tip-top shape, there is a war going on in and out of the palace. The costume design accents the times and place beautifully.
All the talk centered around The Favourite has been undoubtedly the performances. The three major performances from Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone prove to be some of the best this year. Olivia Colman embraces Yorgos’s signature style and nails it. Her performance is excessive in the best way possible. Rachel Weisz ended up being the perfect fit for this film. Her passive aggressive and subtle nature of her performance clearly stands out continually throughout the film fitting her character exceptionally well. Emma Stone is the best out of all of them though. Her outlandish and manipulative outing as Abigail rises to one of the best performances in all of Yorgos’s filmography. I really hope Yorgos and Stone work again.
I really liked this movie. This is easily the most accessible Yorgos film because he doesn’t totally take over The Favourite but it didn’t ruin the film in the long run. I think this will definitely get better with more viewings.