Out Now On-Demand
Two cousins (Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone) jockey for influence and power during the reign of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman, who scored an Oscar and Golden Globe for her performance) in this political comedy-drama from the Oscar-nominated director of The Lobster.
"Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant, Abigail (Stone), arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfil her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way." (Venice Film Festival)
- Trailer 3
- Trailer 2
- Trailer 1
- Clip: Shooting
- Clip: Look At Me
- Clip: Hot Chocolate
- Featurette: Working with Yorgos
- Featurette: A Matter of Perspective
Best Actress (Olivia Colman), Golden Globes 2019 & Academy Awards 2019
- Yorgos Lanthimos('The Lobster', 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer', 'Dogtooth')
Comedy, Drama, True Story & Biography, Historical, Festival & Independent
Rating: R13 Sexual material, offensive language and content that may disturb
Ireland, UK, USA
“Love has its limits.” “Well, it shouldn’t.” This exchange, which takes place in the opening scene of The Favourite, could plausibly be from any of Yorgos Lanthimos’ small yet notorious catalogue of films. From Dogtooth, to The Lobster, to The Killing of a Sacred Deer, the Greek director and cinema darling has something of a preoccupation with emotional barriers—and what happens when they are transgressed.
Set in 18th Century England, The Favourite focuses on a love triangle of sorts between the dippy, gout-ridden Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman), her confidant Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weiss) and Churchill’s cousin Abigail (Emma Stone).
Beginning as down-and-out Abigail arrives at court hoping Sarah can find her employment there, she quickly gleans the true nature of Sarah and Anne’s relationship—and Anne’s emotional vulnerability—and sets out to usurp her cousin in both Anne’s heart and court.
As much as those opening lines may feel perfectly Lanthimos-esque, The Favourite is the first of his films not to be scripted in collaboration with screenwriter Efthymis Filippou. In fact, first drafted in 1998 by Deborah Davis (and more recently ‘freshened up’ by Tony McNamara) the script—originally titled Balance of Power—has been floating around for 20 years.
For a director now notorious for the eerie, stilted, stylised way his characters usually interact, this is a significant departure for Lanthimos: though The Favourite could not be said to be naturalistic as such, the dialogue is certainly more normal that that of say, Sacred Deer.
Initially this feels a little bit like a loss—I love that weird shit—yet quickly his signature uncanny emerges, strangely, subtly in other ways: audio overlaps for extended periods between scenes; a fish-eye lens is used to repeatedly distort our view; 17 rabbits, each representing one of Queen Anne’s still-born children, run amok.
With a suitably opaque — and for some perhaps a little bit infuriating—ending, The Favourite is a rare period drama that goes beyond merely re-hashing a sensationalised past. Instead, Lanthimos uses this fascinating, and apparently forgotten, moment in history to create a strange, twisted and darkly funny love story that is truly one of a kind.
Little White Lies
NZ Herald (Toby Woollaston)
Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)
Intriguing and Unexpected
A period drama slightly off-beat but in fact more intriguing than the conventional kind. The triumvirate of Colman, Weisz and Stone has such good dynamic that you'd be absorbed from start to finish.
There is a lot to love in this movie, but the costumes ...
Amadeus without the joy
A superb cast cannot save this turgid joyless royal romp. While Olivia, Rachel and Emma do their predictable best, and the script has moments of witty banter, overall his story is as diseased as sad sorry Queen Anne herself. While the odd comic scene provides light relief, the story is increasingly grim and the ending brings no relief. The director constantly draws attention to the artifice of filmmaking with cuts to fish-eye angles, intrusive and often annoying soundtrack music. It could have easily lost 30 minutes from its seemingly interminable runtime also. If all of that sounds like your cup of poisoned tea, go right ahead, but be warned, you’ll definitely feel like some comic relief after this one.
A game of power and play
A tale of loss, madness and ruthless women.
Reminiscent of Greenaway's 'The Draughtsman's Contract' and WinterBottom's 'Tristram Shandy' once more we are thrown into the absurdities of wigs, idiots and the absurdities of life when the Royals were all powerful but at the mercy of the ruthless and quick witted. Here is the story of a Queen, played deftly by the superior Olivia Coleman, who is sinking into madness after the deaths of 17 lost babies. Some may call this a comedy but really the humour must be wrestled out of this story of loss. Nicholas Hault shines in this one and Emma Stone is the best she has ever been in my opinion but don't be drawn by any reviews that tell you it's all a bit of a costumed romp. The locations and costuming are sumptuous and may well garner an oscar as may Coleman.
It's history, Jim, but not as we know it.
So, another historical drama from Yorgos Lanthimos. Much more energy than his other work, propelled along by the angry tension between its leads. Takes a different direction from other period dramas, reducing its world to, essentially, the royal household. As such, more similar to a romantic drama such as Shakespeare in Love than the grand spectacle of, say, Kenneth Branagh's Henry V. This story is not so much Pride and Prejudice as Anna Karenina: -
All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.The director mostly takes a back seat for this work, except for a few self-indulgent landscape shots through fish-eye lenses towards the end of the film. In sum, a welcome relief from plodding melodramas starring Colin Farrell, and a jump to a sort of all-female Blackadder.
A Right Royal Affair
An intriguing period piece about the sexual politics and power dynamics surrounding the Queen of England and those seeking her favour in the 18th Century. The story is made all the more interesting by a biting, dark comedic streak that runs throughout, while the film itself benefits from featuring lavish sets and costumes, superb photography, and enthralling performances from all three lead actresses.
Found this film surprising and darkly funny. Loved the costumes and the excellent characters. Don't take Nana unless she's pretty open minded.
A Yorgos Lanthimos Period Drama
Darkly hilarious and absurd, The Favourite manages to be a welcome entry into the resumé of Yorgos Lanthimos' and is one of 2018's best!
Definitely different but certainly enjoyable.
I was happily entertained by the skilful acting of the characters and yes unusual but very enjoyable. I came to the event to be entertained and this movie does that with the light touch of humour and yes a little dark but not predictable which has all the elements I look for. Well done and thanks for the opportunity to view.