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10/10
I was left shaking after watching this film
candacemortier5 November 2018
Honestly all I can say is that this film was not what I was expecting and far exceeded my expectations. The chemistry between the actors and also the visual story is absolutely stunning and I'm just wowed by how well done everything is done in this film. I can't say I have anything bad to say about this film. And please go into this movie without spoilers, I find that it is way more enjoyable to be surprised by the actual story and leaves more excitement for the viewer.
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9/10
Salute to the writers for the masterful script
KarenAM3 October 2018
The Favourite is, so far, the best movie I've seen during VIFF. Its sharp intelligence and sarcastic approach devours the mind, cinematography wows, acting mesmerizes and overwhelms, soundtrack creates with the atmosphere of the movie that is so raw and somehow relatable to this day. With unusual, weird kind of approach, director Yorgos Lanthimos delivers his best to date, in my opinion. The writes are the ones getting a bow down from me, with explicit, honest and funny approach to a period biopic drama that will stand the test of time for sure
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8/10
Zurich Film Festival #1
steftrottmann28 September 2018
I was able to see this movie about 4 months before its theatrical release in Switzerland at the first day of the Zurich Film Festival 2018.

For preparation of yesterdays screening I recently watched two of Yorgos Lanthimos' previous films: "The Lobster" and "The Killing Of A Sacred Deer". Both movies are very special in their own way so I didn't expect from "The Favourite" to be a normal 18th-whatever-century movie. Usually I'm not a big fan of historical/costume movies like this.

But what about "The Favourite"?

I have to admit that I was unaware of my feelings for the movie shortly after the end. Yeah it was "good", but was there more than that? A day later I'm still not 100% sure because I still think about it but I noticed that hour after hour I like this movie more. The story is really great and there are a lot of wicked but also hilarious scenes.

The three main actresses are definitely the highlight of the movie: Rachel Weisz is amazing and of course, Olivia Colman is outstanding. I wouldn't complain if she gets nominated for an Oscar next year, but can we talk about Emma Stone? Yes, I'm a fan, but I really think her performance is the best in the whole movie, maybe it's because she also plays the most interesting character.

I definitely have to see "The Favourite" again when it comes to the cinema sometime in January 2019 to make my final verdict. Until then I give 8 out of 10 and hopefully more next time.
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9/10
Yorgos Lanthimos Takes On Old-Fashioned England
Gresh85414 October 2018
The Favourite was not what I expected. This isn't classic Yorgos Lanthimos, this is a whole new, more whimsical Yorgos Lanthimos, approached parallel to his usual sinister, vexing, and twisted spirit. In full hindsight, this more comedic and less calamitous manner ended with me completely and whole-heartedly digging it. And when I say, The Favourite is more cheer and juvenile than his previous work, I'm not inferring that Lanthimos loses his infamous psychologically poignant gift in this, I'm just inferring that it's done in a much more subtle way, hidden by cynical buffoonery.

At the time being, I would claim that this isn't my favorite-sorry-favourite of Lanthimos's filmography-The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer still hold that spot dearly to my heart-but I would doubtlessly claim that The Favourite is by a long-shot, Lanthimos's most gratifying and crowd-pleasing film. I did not expect to had had such a blast with this movie. Not only is it funny as hell, but the comradery and rivalry between Emma Stone's character and Rachel Weisz's character-both who by the way, give the most dexterous performances of this entire year-was just too much fun to take in. And Olivia Colman's performance as the queen...comical perfection.

The atmospherical tone of this movie also is one of the many aspects that won me over. It reputed like an old-fashioned, 1-on-1, battle of the minds movie, just with touches of Lanthimos's typical synthetic stylizations. It's the cherry on the top of this shrewd satire.

The Favourite might not be as poetically relevant to today's society like The Lobster, or as tramuatizingly stirring like The Killing of a Sacred Deer, but it's a playful piece of mental spectacle that is oddly bone-crushing, yet, pleasing, all at once. Loved nearly every second of it. Bravo, once again Sir Lanthimos. (Verdict: A)
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9/10
Will be a Favourite of the year.
kingsgrl201018 November 2018
There are three compelling reasons to see this - Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone. They go full force into this 18th-century world. Its a wickedly ridiculous and dirty dark comedy that only Yorgos Lanthimos could make with a brilliant whip-smart script by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara. Weisz vs Stone is a master class in acting, and Colman holds the Crown. Showcasing just how devoted one is for love (or power) but if it is truly worth the cost. If you didn't like The Lobster or The Killing of a Sacred Deer, you may not like this movie. While it is Yorgos' most commercial movie yet, it is still very much his style. The more that I think about this movie, the more that I love it and it will be everywhere this award season.
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8/10
Lanthimos Delivers... But The Ending Could Use Some Work
roblesar9922 September 2018
Sumptuous and stunning. With THE FAVOURITE, director Yorgos Lanthimos delivers his best film yet - one that works as both a historical drama and a sex comedy that features beautiful cinematography courtesy of Robbie Ryan (Lanthimos really loves him some fisheye lenses) and gorgeous costume design courtesy of Sandy Powell (just give her the Oscar already because wow). Lanthimos, working for the first time with a screenplay that he didn't co-write, deals primarily with themes of power and the way it impacts the three women at the center of the film. Despite not having had a hand in writing the screenplay, Lanthimos seems to be in his wheelhouse, crafting a stirring yet (darkly) humorous rumination on humankind's innate desire to posses power, whether it be political, sexual, or anything in between. Granted, Lanthimos is also working with some of the most talented actresses working today and the big three (Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone) all deliver some of the best work of their career. As crazy as it might sound, however, and despite Colman's Best Actress win at Venice for her portrayal of Queen Anne, this is Stone's film. I'm already frustrated by the fact that she will be campaigned in the Best Supporting Actress field despite the fact that the film wholly follows her arc. That's not to take anything from Colman, whose performance is likely the most impressive of the three, but I do feel it's something to take note of.

However, the film isn't flawless, and it once again demonstrates that Lanthimos' greatest weakness as a director is his inability to deliver a satisfying conclusion. I loved THE LOBSTER, but the last ten minutes left a bitter taste in my mouth that I detested. I was a bit cooler on THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, and the last ten minutes proved a bit too dark for me. This time, even a great final shot isn't enough to save the last fifteen minutes of the film from seeming necessary. The film simply (and suddenly) runs out of steam before it crosses the finish line - an unfortunate occurrence considering the fact that nearly everything before it proved wickedly entertaining. That being said, I'm excited to see what Lanthimos does next. I just hope he nails the ending.
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10/10
Eccentric, witty, and delightful
andrebacci-889026 November 2018
Enthralling from the very beginning and bursting with enthusiasm, this endlessly funny period piece, mixed with a ravishing love triangle, is Lanthimos at his most accessible, all while maintaining the mordacious social commentary and absurdist tone that made him such a phenomenon. Needless to say, "The Favourite" is marvelously shot, capturing with elegance the grandeur of its setting through gorgeous steadicam and extravagant wide angles, but what really sets it apart are the characters that are shown against it. Arguably the most fascinating showcase of acting from each of its three leads, the dynamics of the trio are effervescent, chock-full of disdainful side-glances, sharp smiles and lascivious touches, making every man look like a disposable accessory. Weisz is ever caustic as Sarah Churchill, the queen's confidant and lover, who actually rules the kingdom through her, and Stone is ravishing as Abigail, Sarah's cousin, who plays a naïve, gleeful servant, but secretly will spare no efforts in order to become the queen's new favourite. However, it is Colman who steals the spotlight, through her mesmerizing performance of Queen Anne. Infantile and broken, impulsive and lustful, needy and erratic all at once, she takes credit for almost every one of the most iconic moments of the film, which are several, through her delicious tantrums and hilarious excesses, but most notably, through a few long, mathematically precise close-ups, during which her expression changes so subtly, yet so richly, that she conveys an extensive array of emotions, disarming the viewer with desperate loneliness and melancholy. All of that innovating and beguiling experience could never have been made possible without an incredibly solid script, whose segmented structure and whimsically titled chapters make the audience anticipate, with an expectant smile, what kind of wicked schemes and betrayals will come next. While it is riveting and lively until two thirds well into the plot, some of the viewers might be left disappointed at how it becomes hopeless and dark. The sudden change of pace, however, is deliberate and calculated, leading to a visually unforgetable ending scene, as each of the characters finally realize the inescapable consequences of their extravagant behaviours. Ultimately, "The Favourite" is an admirable confluence of talent, whose likes mainstream cinema only glimpses rarely, and that will leave audiences marveled and eager for more.
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10/10
Call This What it is -- A Masterpiece
ccarr-892844 December 2018
Let me start by saying I have not been a Lanthimos fan. I watched The Lobster for 20 minutes and stopped, and didn't want to see Sacred Deer just from seeing the trailer. This film, though, perhaps because he didn't write it, which constrained some of his worst inclinations, produced something that will live for decades in the annals of truly great cinema. Unless you are into superheros, explosions, splatter and martial arts as your only movie fare; and if you appreciate cinematic art in its many expressions (acting, music, plot, layered symbolism, cinematography, direction, etc.), then this is a film that will stick with you for awhile. Finally, I want to say a word about two things ( NOT spoilers):1) the ending that a few people seem to be dissing in thier reviews and 2) a few disparaging comments about historical accuracy. In my viewing the ending was perfect. The Queen remains the Queen no matter who fights for or wins the place of Favourite. Winning is not what it looks to be from afar. Is who you become in getting to the pinnacle who you really want to be? And take a look at Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough in Wikipedia, which references her letters reporting the Queen's lesbian bent. Was this out of spite? Who knows, but it's there. One of the only artistic licenses on historical fact that I could find was the tea and horse incident, which served to further the intensity of the drama. Go see this movie as soon as you can. It's going to have some serious attention in award season.
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8/10
Mean girls in British Court.
katiefanatic-791-30691815 October 2018
I saw this film at the San Diego film festival this weekend and it was quite a delight. Of course, being from the director it's from, I was worried it wasn't actually going to be a comedy at all and I'd be horrified. Not the case at all. This was Just a fun film of Emma stone and Rachel Weisz antagonizing each other for two hours. The ending was a bit strange, but a rather enjoyable film.
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10/10
Where did good American humor go?
ryangale-134742 December 2018
This cheeky film is written well, positively creative, and meticulously executed regarding the costumes / props. The acting is on point (bravo ladies), and the story keeps you guessing. Why do nearly all American comedies stink so bad nowadays? The raunchy shock value is played out and lazy! The Favourite is a good example of originality and a refreshing "different" type of comdy!
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7/10
The Favourite (2018)
rockman18223 November 2018
Yorgos Lanthimos is quite an impressive filmmaker. I absolutely loved The Lobster. It was unique and cynically funny. I also enjoyed the creativity and somber delivery of The Killing of a Sacred Deer. For The Favourite it seemed like a different type of venture for Lanthimos, but certainly one where he would be able to implement his creativity and filming techniques. The Favourite is good in exactly the way you would expect it to be.

The film is about Queen Anne and her favourite Sarah Churchill. Churchill's cousin, Abigail Hill soon arrives to the kingdom looking for a job. She eventually gets close to the ailing Queen and Sarah and Abigail start to battle for the Queen's affection. The Queen has a history of health problems so she needs someone to attend to her consistently. The motives of Abigail seem unclear because she seems to have many different interests and pursuits. The film stars an excellent cast of Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, with supporting roles from Nicholas Hoult and Joe Alwyn.

Yorgo's style is still ever present in this film. The camera uses fish eye and wide shots that encompass the entire grand scenery and decor of the castle. He uses natural lighting which is a common thread in his work. The characters are very well acted, especially Coleman who was just born to scream at servants and complain loudly about everything. I thought the film touches on a relationship between women but doesn't linger on it long enough. The film has comedic one liners as is expected from Lanthimos' work. Its a very interesting film with memorable characters with motivations you can't see.

The film is so very nice to look at but for me doesn't have as strong a presence of something like The Lobster. This is a historical work so I can see restrictions in the imagination that we are used to seeing from Lanthimos but its still a very interesting work because of the intricacies of the relationship between the three leads and how mad they become as the film goes along. its prim and proper in appearance but there's a royal madness to it all. Its worth the watch, and I'm excited for the next chapter of work from the filmmaker.

7.5/10
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10/10
Two hours of quirky fun!
whollowa8 December 2018
"The Favourite" is a rarity in studio films; it feels fresh and original, intellectual and weird. It defies both description and expectation, leaving you unsettled, confused, and yet pleasantly warm.

Your experience watching "The Favourite" will not be enhanced by a deep knowledge of the plot, or of the historical events that surround the story. Indeed, the film reflects England under Queen Anne in much the same way that Game of Thrones echoes the Wars of the Roses, which is to say: sorta. In the world of "The Favourite," historical figures blithely employ anachronistic dialogue. Slanderous allegations of yore become genuine plot points. If the movie were making any sort of pretense towards historical accuracy, this might all be grating. "The Favourite," however, is far more concerned with constructing its sophisticated narrative than with faithfully depicting 18th century Britain to impress the four historians in the audience.

Our players, affectionate, shrewd, and manipulative, are as follows: Olivia Colman plays Queen Anne-gout-ridden, somewhat simple, and yet warm. Rachel Weisz is Sarah, the Duchess of Marlborough-the Queen's friend, confidante, and puppet-master. Emma Stone, rounding out the triumvirate, plays Abigail-a noble cousin to the Duchess who has fallen below her station (her condition is most delightfully represented by her appearance in court: slathered with excrement). Lady Marlborough employs Abigail as her own maid, bringing her into the Queen's sphere with dramatic consequences.

All three actresses are exemplary, imbuing their performances with expressions and tics that communicate the veiled struggle for influence that their dialogue disguises. As Lady Marlborough and Abigail begin to square off, the chemistry between Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone becomes electric, their interactions nuanced and pregnant with subtext. Were "The Favourite's" DVD release to mimic "Lord of the Rings," with an hour of extra footage of Sarah and Abigail sniping at one another, I assure you, I'd be first in line at the Blockbu...internet to purchase it. Olivia Colman, too, is extraordinary. Her Queen Anne is stubborn and self-destructive, feeble, and eminently manipulable. Yet she is also witty, loving, and canny, making her sympathetic, rather than simply pathetic.

Though the actors' respective roles could easily devolve into familiar tropes, "The Favourite" resists such simplification. Moral ambiguity is rife in "The Favourite." If you're hoping to divide the three leads into "good guys" and "bad guys," you will be continually disappointed. Such explicit designations (and the gendered assumptions implicit therein) have no place in this film. Each main character is, at times, manipulative, trusting, duplicitous, and loyal. They are, in short, human. Cruelty and ambition often live cheek-by-jowl with kindness and friendship in the human heart. If all this friction has you eagerly anticipating a "cat-fight," then I bid you welcome to 2018, Archie Bunker, but you, too, shall leave the theater disgruntled. You will find conflict to spare in "The Favourite," but it is hardly a voyeuristic fantasyland. I know, I know, way too much talky-talky and not enough sexy-slappy. I get it. Now run along to the box office and see if they'll still let you swap your ticket for Robin Hood.

"The Favourite" defies cinematic tradition by surrounding three complex, nuanced female characters with one-dimensional men. The male supporting cast is neither uninteresting nor unlikeable, but their motivations tend to be simple, their personalities, caricatures. These men's foppish displays are entertaining, no doubt, but they do not captivate the attention like the exchanges between Anne, Sarah, and Abigail. Turnabout is fair play, and this story demands sophisticated interplay between its three feminine leads, while only requiring men for the occasional plot device. Never fear, my masculine brethren. No fewer than six male-driven films were released around the same week as "The Favourite". The feminist takeover of Hollywood with deviations like "speaking roles for women" remains in its infancy.

Helming this new-age feminist hellscape is Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, who deserves a great deal of credit for establishing the odd world of "The Favourite". Lanthimos' whole visual aesthetic is peculiar, with wide, fisheye lenses and odd, unexpected camera angles ("What if I put the camera under the table for this conversation?" I imagine him asking). In addition, Lanthimos does not like to use traditional film lighting. His exteriors rely on natural light, while his nighttime scenes give a real impression of being candle-lit, with hard shadows and dark corners. If Lanthimos wishes to unsettle the viewer with his aesthetic, he succeeds masterfully. Even during otherwise innocuous conversations, you may feel a creeping trepidation as your neck hairs stand on end. "The Favourite" isn't particularly off-putting or violent, but you will feel strangely uncomfortable, despite all the humor, until the credits roll.

Although "The Favourite" is thematically - and cinematically - dark, it is often also shockingly funny. The dialogue is snappy and well-tuned, and the actors' interplay with one another is perfectly coordinated. Dull, expository dialogue, usually wielded with all the subtlety of a self-important sledgehammer in historical dramas, here flits across the screen like a hummingbird, lingers briefly, and is gone again. Instead, a droll sort of whimsy prevails. At times, laughter felt wrenched from the audience, as we surprised ourselves with our own snorts of glee. Humor is rarely so cathartic as when your fingernails are digging grooves into your palms. It would be a mistake to classify "The Favourite" as a "comedy," I think, but for all its gloom, it is hardly grim. Complexity necessitates a balance between darkness and light; between tragedy and comedy. "The Favourite" deftly manages that tension better than most films.

"The Favourite" is not a movie for everyone. It will be too "much" for some, too weird for others, and, sadly, too woman-centric for many (one does not expect a tweet from our dear president, for instance, extolling his love for this film). Nevertheless, "The Favourite" is brilliant. The writing is witty, the sets are lavish, and the acting is exceptional. It is a symphony of odd, eccentric anachronisms that will leave you tearing through a dictionary for the right words to describe it, always coming up a bit short.
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10/10
Deliciously Wicked
evanston_dad3 December 2018
"The Favourite" is a deliciously wicked and fictionalized account of what might have taken place between Queen Anne of England, her friend and confidante Lady Sarah, and a maid with aspirations named Abigail, as Sarah and Abigail vied for the Queen's favor.

Director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose last two films, "The Lobster" and "The Killing of a Sacred Deer," were marred by his determination to make his audience queasy, goes a little easier on us with this one. If you like his style, don't worry -- the film has his fingerprints all over it. But whereas those other films mentioned were so weird as to pull me out of the narrative, "The Favourite" is more like "Dogtooth," the film that introduced me to Lanthimos in the first place, in that the weirdness is hypnotic and kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see where this whacky movie was going to go next. And unlike "The Lobster," which apparently was supposed to be a comedy, "The Favourite" actually made me laugh many times.

The acting is stellar, with Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone all giving crackerjack performances. The film explores the lengths to which people will go in order to yield power over one another. Though all three ladies get plenty of opportunities to shine, the film feels more "about" Abigail than anyone, and we watch her first wrestle with her morals as she realizes how skeezy she will have to be to beat Lady Sarah at her game, then commit to doing what she has to do to be top dog, and finally left wondering why she wanted to be top dog in the first place, a warning given to her by rival Lady Sarah that she refuses to heed. And Olivia Colman's Queen Anne is a wolf in sheep's clothing, her physical and emotional frailty a camouflage for her monstrous obsession with being adored.

"The Favourite" looks stunning, the kind of film that wins Oscars for production design, costume design, and cinematography but actually deserves them. The film reminded me once in a while of Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" in its look and tone, though "The Favourite" isn't afraid to get its hands dirty whereas "Barry Lyndon" remained stately and pristine.

Easily one of the best movies of the year.

Grade: A+
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10/10
Vicious, bawdy tale of a queen's court
PotassiumMan2 December 2018
Yorgos Lanthimos takes on the biopic genre in this serpentine and visually striking depiction of Queen Anne in her diminished condition and her shifting companionship between Lady Sarah, who largely took over the reigns of the state and Abigail, a young woman who comes to the court as a servant but quickly earns the queen's fondness. Abigail becomes a foil not only for Lady Sarah but for the male leaders in Parliament.

Emma Watson and Rachel Weisz play well off each other as Abigail and Lady Sarah respectively. Olivia Coleman is a joy to watch as the frail but furiously combustible Queens Anne. Nicholas Hoult is solid in a supporting turn as the leader of Parliament opposition.

The film is loaded with Lanthimosian dark humor but also cold mystery and austere cinematography and camerawork. In time, we get to know the quirks, hidden secrets and impulses of all three characters as the court confronts the pressures of war with France and political instability at home- and more privately as the queen's closest female confidants duel for their place.

One of Lanthimos's best films to date, this one will keep you on the edge until the very last frame with one memorable sequence after another. Recommended to the highest degree.
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9/10
An Outright Brilliant Film
metaflixinc5 December 2018
No other period pieces come to mind when trying to find a comparison for 'The Favourite,' and even if there were, none would hold a candle to this 18th century tale of social scheming and palace politics.

Director Yorgos Lanthimos previously caught the attention (and admiration) of art house audiences with 2015's 'The Lobster,' followed by last year's 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer.' However this film is different, and it will justifiably earn Lanthimos a spot at the table reserved for Hollywood's elite directors.

The cast is outright brilliant. Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, and Nicholas Hoult each deserve their own paragraph of praise. However, it is Colman who ultimately takes the cake for her performance (pun intended!). She looks to be the early front-runner for the Academy Award for Best Actress--a statement that is further bolstered by the fact that she just won that award category at the BAFTAs.

Expect her official nomination come January ... along with a slew of other nominations covering just about every Oscar category.
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6/10
Well-Shot, Unconventional but Flawed Period Piece
bastille-852-73154729 September 2018
I'm somewhat of a fan of Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos, and was excited to see this new dark comedy from him set in period Britain. The film centers around the relationship between Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill, and how such relationship is affected when the cousin of the latter arrives seeking employment. The film offers an eclectic mix of dark comedy and great cinematography, but doesn't completely hold together, which was slightly disappointing.

Lanthimos' unique cinematography is outstanding throughout, as are many of his commendable aesthetic choices that help enrich the film's unique quality and tone. The acting is generally strong throughout, with the distinct nature of each performance among the three lead actresses enhancing the viewing experience. Unfortunately, however, the film's script has a number of concerns. The film's writing attempts to be witty and funny much of the time, but such lines of wit and humor do not always land. Some of the more raunchy moments are well-placed, but others just feel puerile or ridiculous. For a prestige film from an acclaimed auteur revered by many serious film buffs, the film can end up feeling quite lowbrow at times, which can alienate the viewer from some of the more serious commentary of the time period Lanthimos is depicting, particularly with regards to the issue of gender roles and the patriarchal nature of the society and culture. The total shifts can be quite jarring, even more so when one stops to consider that not all scenes played for comedic effect are particularly funny or even amusing at face or literal value. A majority of the film is paced properly and well, yet the third act can come off as anti-climactic. Ultimately, while I didn't dislike "The Favourite," I did expect a bit more from what some pundits have determined will likely be a top-tier Oscar contender this fall. 6/10
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8/10
No one to root for!
sillysillymarym30 November 2018
Interesting thing about this movie, is that there was no likable character at all. That would normally irritate me as I crave a purpose or something to relate to. It's impressive to have felt such a general disappointment in the nature of humanity (honestly shown as cruel, stubborn, helpless, and self-seeking), and still be very drawn in to the dynamics between these people, and some very unexpected moments. It was quirky and witty. Perhaps the most likable person was the dude Abigail marries (such a small part I can't even remember his name in movie)! He was cute and charming, poor guy. Despite having no character to "root" for or connect with (unless you take an exestential journey into the good and bad in all of us and question just how far you would go to get what you think you want out of life...), it was very entertaining, emotional, and captivating. It was clear early on, there is no real winner in this story, however it ends. And the final scene creates a monument to that effect. I really wanted Abigail to be sweet and innocent and her "goodness" to prevail, as a fairy tale... but actually the way it was is exactly right. I loved Sarah's line to Abigail saying something like "you really think you won? We are playing different games" (or something I know that's off). I just want to give that fickle queen some prozac and a hug!! Also, some great glimpses into royalty, higher class, decision making in war (influences), etc...
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2/10
Profoundly Boring
princessrb2 December 2018
Nothing to spoil here. Two hours of agony (with great costumes). The ending is cringe worthy.
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8/10
Yorgos and 3 great actresses
ferguson-630 November 2018
Greetings again from the darkness. Our biggest fear was that Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos would one day soften the twisted edge he blessed us with in THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (2017), THE LOBSTER (2015), and DOGTOOTH (2009). That day may yet arrive, but not today and not with his latest. It's his first time to direct a screenplay he didn't write, which likely explains this being his most accessible film - though labeling it "mainstream" would be a huge stretch. So brace yourself for an unusual and odd costume period piece unlike anything you've seen before.

Co-writers Deborah Davis (her first screenplay) and Tony McNamara (TV background) deliver biting dialogue and treacherous situations, and benefit from three staggeringly terrific lead actress performances. Olivia Colman stars as Queen Anne, Rachel Weisz as Lady Sarah Churchill, and Emma Stone is Abigail. The three combine for one of the strangest and most convoluted love triangles and power struggles in history.

It's very early 18th century and Britain is at war with France. Queen Anne is frail and in ill health due to severe gout and who knows how many other ailments. Her erratic behavior and quick temper convey childlike behavior from an adult body with a crown. Lady Sarah (Winston's great-great grandmother, if I've calculated correctly) has strategically become the Queen's trusted political advisor and often governs in her stead, while also sharing moments of intimacy. Sarah pulls no punches and certainly doesn't subscribe to the 'kill 'em with kindness' approach, and instead frequently insults the Queen to her face. When Sarah's cousin Abigail appears after her family's fall from grace (her father lost her in a card game), Sarah takes pity on her due to Sarah's fondness of Abigail's father during her childhood.

Abigail's naivety and kindness soon win over the Queen's affections. Is her sweetness an act? Is it due to ambition or desperation ... is there even a difference here? We soon learn Abigail treats conniving as a profession - she views it as her only path back to respectability, and she's willing to take on many acts lacking in respectability to charm her way into the inner sanctum. We are plopped into the wicked fun, delicious cat-fighting, strategic backstabbing and crafty political and personal maneuverings ... right up until the story turns to vicious bleak darkness in the final act.

It's fascinating to watch three women hold the power during this era, as the noblemen are relegated to constantly playing catch-up (kind of like the real world) and struggling to figure out the rules of the game. Power struggles abound, as do director Lanthimos stylistic touches. Noblemen played by Nicholas Hoult and Joe Alwyn are frequently dressed in frilly costumes, giant wigs and heavy make-up - quite the contrast to what we typically see in these period pieces. Other Lanthimos touches include royal duck races, pet bunnies representing deceased children, and fisheye lenses used from every conceivable angle.

Ms. Colman and Ms. Weisz were both in THE LOBSTER, and both have a knack for the Lanthimos style, and Ms. Stone surprisingly is also a natural with the twisted, vicious material. Each of the actresses have an extended close-up allowing them to show-off their immense and subtle talent ... Ms. Colman's is especially impactful. Extreme profanity (numerous c-words and f-words) is at times startling and effective, and the music is unique and diverse - as we would expect. As an added bonus, it requires little imagination to connect the dots to our contemporary political state, although that approach would likely stifle one's enjoyment of the film. Mr. Lanthimos has quickly reached the 'must-see' list of directors, with a guarantee that we are going to see something unusual and interesting. It's one of the year's best, even if it's not for everyone.
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8/10
Ovation.
LordofArt22 October 2018
What would we have done without writers? How would the world have been without writers? Everything starts from the script. The Favourite began from the script. Thank you Deborah Davis. Obrigado Tony McNamara. I want to marry both o' your brains.
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Lanthimos' baroque royal menage a trois dark comedy
gortx11 December 2018
Yorgos Lanthimos' THE FAVOURITE is a mordant menage a trois film about royalty. 18th century Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) is portrayed as a doddering ruler getting played by her attendant, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz). A new servant has arrived at the palace, Abigail (Emma Stone), and she too learns to use her whiles to get her way with the weak Queen. The screenplay by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara is full of biting wit, each character setting out to use their tongue like a rapier. The three ladies take - and dominate strongly = center stage, but the men in the cast including Nicholas Hoult, James Smith and Joe Alwyn hold their own in clear supporting parts. The script, while sharp at times, also lets itself fall prey to anachronisms and modern phrasing - certainly part of the construct, but a bit more polish could have made it less distracting (and, if one of the writers weren't a woman the frequent use of the "C" word would have stood out even more). Lanthimos (working from other writers words for the first time since he debut feature), still manages to put his undeniably offbeat stamp on the project. The cinematography (on 35mm by Robbie Ryan) is baroque in its use of wide-angle lenses (too much so) and the compilation soundtrack combines both period classical music (Bach, Handel) as well as more contemporary experimental sounds by Messiaen and Ferrari. It's an, at times, uneasy blend - as Lanthimos, no doubt intended. The nod to Ingmar Bergman's PERSONNA is carried off with a deadpan Lanthimos twist. While the actresses carry the tricky dialogue and directorial quirks with aplomb (hard to pick an...ahem...favourite among the trio), the movie eventually bogs down by the last couple of acts (the film is broken down into eight chapters). Once the three main characters are set, there aren't enough surprises to drive the drama. Even the acrid dialogue loses steam as it goes along. THE FAVOURITE is a well played film, but not fully realized.
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8/10
definitely different
debbehan3 December 2018
I think I would've rated this movie higher if it weren't for the ending. I will give no spoilers, and having said that - the ending was all wrong. To show an interspersed faces & bunny rabbits to fade to black was a horrible way to end this movie. The acting was fantastic and the comedy in the story, very good. But there are aspects of this film which are unsettling and uncomfortable. I recommend this movie for the acting more than the story. Beautiful scenery and costumes. The music is perfect with unsettling scenes. I wouldn't take any children.
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9/10
A twisted tale of royal monarchy gone bad
GODZILLA_Alpha_Predator13 December 2018
Yorgos Lanthimos continues to be one of the most unique and dynamic filmmakers working today. In his latest film, Lanthimos engages the audience in 18th century royal British politics that is centered around three women. We have Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), the emotionally unstable and sensitive ruler of England who would rather spoil herself with treats and play with her pet rabbits then engage in any sort of politics. And by her side and constantly controlling her every decision is Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz). Cold, cynical and mean-spirited, Sarah makes sure the country runs the way she prefers by speaking on the behalf of the queen herself. And then comes in the final girl, Sarah's cousin Abigail who finds the Achille's heel in Anne and Sarah's relationship to exploit. As Sarah and Abigail go to war with each other for Anne's affection, it begins to have huge affect on the literal war that is going on with France.

The dynamic chemistry between all three of the actresses and the engaging script by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara is what keeps you hooked in this heightened period piece. From the beginning, Weisz, Stone and Colman portray their characters in one way that you would seem straightforward but by the end your view on them turns a complete 180. Weizs's confidence and dry wit makes her character Sarah feels like a force of nature you want to avoid crossing. By contrast Stone's charm and humour shows her character Abigail as appearing sweet and you wanting to root for. However, once the table turn in the game of manipulation and favouritism, Weisz display vulnerability in Sarah and Stone expands her dramatic chops to the reveal the dark trickster that hides behind Abigail's sweet smile. However the most fully ranged performance is that of Colman. While Queen Anne seems written to be as comic relief at first, Colman gets to put on show of emotional depth that by contrast makes her feel more human then the rest of the royal over-the-top characters we meet. Colman's comedic time definitely does earn most of the laughs in a very dark and twisted story. However it's through her emotional performance that gives the Favourite a sense of humanity that would otherwise be lacking.

Robbie Ryan's cinematography makes the Favourite visually stand apart from previous period piece dramas. The wide dynamic perspective shots make the character's interactions with each other feel like a you're removed from their presence because of their wealth and class status. The feeling of alienation from the shots is what helps it to sell its cold atmosphere. With close-ups of character's face the film then lets you get inside their heads to know where their minds and emotions are at in the moment. This then allows the story and its characters to be seen as being flawed but also honest and real.

Like Lathimos's previous films The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Favourite is a film that will leave feeling very cold and disturbed but is definitely joy to watch three amazingly talented actresses to perform with and against each other.
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2/10
Save your time and money.
marshaberger5113 December 2018
The only thing exciting was the women kissing a few times. Other than good costumes and set design, a boring storyline. This is a skip for me.
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8/10
A Favourite!
Fredericolo12 December 2018
This is a fantastic film. The three leading ladies compliment each others strengths and weaknesses to no end. The timing and beat of the film is great, with a chapter like structure that helps guide the user through the story ina quirky and fun fashion. The complexity of Olivia Colman's character Queen Anne is a Favourite if mine - from her serious struggles with binge eating disorder to her kindness and compassion for her pet rabbits, her character struck me as the most compelling and developed. The Favourite is a Favourite / would recommend to anyone!
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