The Favourite

The Favourite ★★★★

Damn, I was wrong about this movie. I was so wrong it makes me doubt that I know anything at all about movies. How could I be so wrong? I know I was in a pissy mood the first time I saw this and that made me overlook a lot of it. This time, I was able to digest the amazing filmmaking. Amazing filmmaking. Yorgos Mavropsaridis's editing is unbelievable. Scenes overlap almost entirely, where Scene A is happening in front of us and Scene B is happening in the audio in the background before abruptly cutting late into that sequence. It allows characters to move around quickly, the story to move rapidly but also slow down. It's interesting how long it takes for the tête-à-tête to get underway and yet how quickly it escalates. The constantly unusual, or out-of-place background soundscape creates a weird tension throughout the whole film. One particular scene was obviously stunning: when Sarah spends an evening trying to write a letter and is intercut with Anne over the course of several days desperately pleading for more mail in anticipation of it. It's been done before, but here it's done beautifully, drawing out the single writing session into an agonizingly long search for the right words that actually takes days. I could also go on and on about the cross-dissolves and how fucking fantastic they are and how, particularly in an early gout-mending scene, they are used to smoothly let an otherwise boring scene play out wonderfully while also articulating how out of it Anne is, and how dreamy Abigail is coming into her life. I mean, I could talk about all that, but I'll spare you...

Then there is the unbelievably crisp and beautiful cinematography, Lanthimos's always peculiar, always wonderful, directorial instincts*, the incredibly diverse musical score. The performances need nothing more to be said about them. It's just an endlessly witty and clever film, one made with a metric fuck-ton of integrity and talent. Sure, it's a bit long and feels it and the central story is predictable. It still should have won all the fucking Oscars, but hey, even I didn't realize that until tonight so what the fuck do I know?

*like how he shows odd flourishes like mending a leg with red meat in passing, not bringing any particular attention to things he knows audiences will find odd.