The Favourite ★★★★½

A fiendishly funny, maniacly-filmed farce that's like watching two beautiful scorpions fight over a frog. Three expertly cast and acted women get locked into a tight struggle for power that reveals each to be, in turn, as smart, vicious, or helpless as the other two, and none of them are ever willing to back down from the challenge. Taking place in the early 18th century, it plays the era entirely straight while reveling in the real dirty details of the time period, from every outrageously dressed nobleman and elaborately decorated room to the disgusting mud outside and total lack of true cleanliness and hygiene inside. It's a fitting display that can quickly crosscut between scenes of obscene decadence and miserable squalor. Quick pans and fisheye lens provide a curiously distorted view of the world that somehow seems all the more fitting as the proceedings move on and various backs are stabbed, people scheme their way forward by way of both deception and sex, and the richest and most powerful individuals of the era eagerly bathe in the misfortunes of their foes even over the most petty of things. Just excellent from start to finish.