REVIEW: ‘The Favourite’ is an incredible dramatic comedy

This movie features not one, not two, but three women who are worthy of winning Best Actress awards this season.

“The Favourite” is the latest film from director Yorgos Lanthimos and it tells the story of Sarah (Rachel Weisz), the adviser and assistant to Queen Anne of England (Olivia Colman). The movie gets started with Sarah’s cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) coming to the castle seeking work as a maid. Abigail quickly shows her value as a staff member and manages to work her way up in the hierarchy, eventually falling into favor with the queen herself.

As she does this, something of a rivalry develops between Sarah and Abigail over who’s best at serving Queen Anne. As all of this is taking place, there is also the fact that England is at war and politicians are trying to pull the queen in various ways to fit their agendas. Both the rivalry between the two women and the ongoing political debate end up crossing over in this dark comedy with phenomenal results.

“Favourite” is easily one of my favorite movies of the year. Upon first look at the trailer, there was some skepticism, as I was unsure of how much depth the film would have versus the abundance of comedy. Fortunately, the film strikes a marvelous balance between the two.

There is political intrigue and drama here, and it does carry quite a bit of interest. At the same time, the picture is relentlessly funny, with many sequences producing chuckles if not outright laughs.

The film accomplishes both of these feats through incredibly good, clever writing. The script by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara is simply overflowing with wit, and thoroughly explores each of the lead characters’ agendas.

The story is also very well executed, as each ‘chapter’ continues to show the ongoing escalation of the rivalry between the two lead characters, and the clock running out on the queen to make a decision regarding the war. The buildup is well handled and audiences will want to know what happens next in this conflict that reaches absurd, funny and at times cruel heights.

As previously stated, the three main performances are phenomenal, with each actress knocking it out of the park. Stone, for example, gives arguably the best performance of her whole career, with many of her lines of dialogue followed by well placed expressions and mannerisms showing her character’s true nature. Weisz does top tier work, too, portraying the other side of the same coin in Sarah.

Giving perhaps the most memorable performance of the whole production, though, was Colman, who’s brilliant as Queen Anne. Her hysterical moments as well as her overall naivety when it comes to being a ruler are on full display thanks to Colman’s magnificent work.

Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures

While the three leading actresses deserve a lot of credit, though, the rest of the cast needs to be praised to. The best example is Nicholas Hoult, who is nearly unrecognizable here, but still does fantastic work as one of the politicians trying to sway the queen to his agenda.

Along with substance, “The Favourite” is also filled with style. On top of a fantastic recreation of the time period, Lanthismos and his crew do some great work with the camera, such as multiple wide angle shots, that at times play into the comical moments quite well.

“The Favourite” is a finely crafted, well acted feature that can keep an audience invested in both the dark comedy and the political power plays. It’s one of 2018’s best for sure. 5 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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