The Favourite

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)

Trailers

Awards

Best Actress (Olivia Colman), Golden Globes 2019 & Academy Awards 2019

Directed by

Comedy, Drama, True Story & Biography, Historical, Festival & Independent

120mins

Rating: MA15+ Strong coarse language

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.

Hollywood Reporter

press

Fabulously entertaining...

Telegraph (UK)

press

This is a skewer-sharp and scabrously funny film, stuffed with quotable deadpan exchanges, often punctuated by that now-trademark Lanthimos camera manoeuvre...

Variety (USA)

press

It’s a perfectly cut diamond of a movie — a finely executed, coldly entertaining entry in the genre of savage misanthropic baroque costume drama.

Guardian (UK)

press

It is a scabrous and often hilarious film, made loopier by the nightmarish visions and wide-angle distortions contrived by the cinematographer Robbie Ryan.

BBC

press

Yorgos Lanthimos's The Favourite is a filthy, violent and outrageous period comedy that drips with bad language and worse behaviour, and will appal anyone who is expecting a more conventional royal drama.

Little White Lies

press

[Yorgos Lanthimos'] idiosyncratic style is an acquired taste that's starting to go stale, and as such this is one of those films that works like a charm in the moment but whose spell quickly wears off.

Vanity Fair

press

The Favourite is a pleasure to watch. It's weird without being alienating, dirty without being cheap. And you'd be hard-pressed to find a better acting trio this fall.

NZ Herald (Toby Woollaston)

press

The absurdist dark humour won't appeal to everyone — depending on your level of cynicism, you'll either witness a masterful work of profundity or an overcooked piece of silliness. I loved it.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

press

This proudly literate and happily bawdy film is being picked as a dark horse in the Oscar race already.

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 ...

.... are outstanding. I'm sure others will talk about the excellence of the performances etc, but I'd like to single out the work of the costume designer; they really brought the period to life.

Who can forget the shooting scene. What wonderful outfits!


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.

wobbit

wobbit

user


A game of power and play

Queen Anne has a close adviser, but a closer adviser is around the corner.

Not sure how historically accurate the film is, but it captured my attention!


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.

bubsomatic

Barbra

user


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.


Sweary awesomeness

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.