The Favourite

The Favourite ★★★★

Some notes:

-- Amusing/horrorifying that the fate of millions rests upon the temper tantrums and petty arguments of a histrionic queen and the conniving Machiavellians that orbit her. Entombed in lavish opulence, the disconnect between the real world and the court is as absolute as the queen's power.

-- Olivia Colman's performance as the Queen was great. She perfectly captured the infantile incompetence of a woman unable to ever maintain a thought of her own. Yet, despite the horror of it all, Colman delivers moments of moving pathos.

-- As her confidante, adviser and surrogate mother, Rachel Wiesz plays a snappy scheming bitch whose motivations turn out to be more layered and complicated by the end of the movie. For the most part she pulls it off, even if a key emotional shift towards the end was a little clunky.

-- Emma Stone disappointed me a little bit. She is so good at those kinds of characters who exhibit a veneer of acerbic arrogance, masking a subterranean vulnerability. But given the chance to go full bitch in this film I thought she was a little restrained. Still very good, though.

-- I like the use of the fish eye lens. Reminds me of Seconds, when Rock Hudson feels like he is going crazy, trapped as he is inside an hermetically sealed fake world of fake people. I also liked the use of the natural lighting with candles. Gives it that Barry Lyndon vibe.

-- The dialogue could have been a little sharper but it was still amusing. The modern idiom is certainly absurd given the historical context and helps maintain the world askew along with other anachronisms and general weirdness giving it a quirky vibe. I like that kind of thing.

-- Bit of advice to the filmmakers, though. Having women say the word cunt numerous times and including lesbian sex scenes involving mature women no longer make a film edgy. Don't rely on it for scandal.

Minor quibbles aside, I thought it was pretty awesome.

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