Marc Persico’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Favourite is about manipulation, treachery, and everything evil, but it’s also a deliciously dark comedy set on mocking the Victorian era and its attitudes.
The Favourite is the tale of a woman (Abigail) who has a hunger for her lost status and the people, relationships, and dignity she’s will to sacrifice in order to reobtain it. Of course, there a those (Sarah) who aren’t going down without a fight, what a thrill it is to watch the two women fight for an official role beside the Queen…or rather unofficial, if you catch my drift. The Favourite has a wonderfully dark yet comical first half featuring a hilariously infantilised Queen and jokes poking fun at Victorian culture - with a humorous exaggeration of their dancing. There is truly something so funny to me about a class of sophistication acting anything but that.
The film takes a huge turn around the halfway mark and slips from comical to outright dark, though I’m not complaining, the transition was smooth and well-done, the change in tone being an absolute delight to watch. Not sure if I’d praise it for its queer representation, I mean it’s there, it’s just not overly rewarding for the characters or the viewers. The dialogue throughout is outright vulgar in the best way, I’ve never heard the C-word used so much in a film. I’m Australian so the word is second nature, but for American audiences, I’m sure it was quite confronting. Filmmaker Yogos Lanthimos did such a great job with the cinematography, be it transition shots that fade into the next, pulling you into Queen Anne’s haze of pain or the fisheye shots that give a full view of lavishly decorated hallways and scummy little servants quarters. The score deserves praise as well, intense violins and organ pianos create the perfect atmosphere - royal, wonder, or downright traitorous.
Starring Emma Stone like you’ve never seen her before, I can’t recall her in a role so dark and manipulative, but she killed it. Olivia Colman rocked it as well, between this and Fleabag she has a talent for comedy, may it be mother-in-law passive aggression or these royal tantrums. Followed by Rachel Weisz and Nicholas Hoult who star in equally hearty roles and play them flawlessly.