Period pieces customarily, across the board, depict the life of a well-known figure or historical event, making history buffs out of us. Normally these films are more serious in nature. The Favourite is now amongst the few exceptions. Newcomers Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara performed a balancing act by including the traditional characteristics of period films AND making it laugh out loud funny. Based in 18th century England, the story centers around Queen Anne, played by the incomparable Olivia Coleman (Broadchurch), her relationship with close confidant at court, Rachel Weisz (The Lobster) and her servant, Emma Stone (La La Land). The story goes from 0 to 100, getting crazier and crazier by the minute.
Director Yorgos Lanthimo’s (The Lobster) films are offbeat and well, frankly bizarre, certainly requiring a particular taste. The Favourite on the other hand is unexpectedly more accessible to a mainstream audience, but to be clear, it’s still out there, way waaay out there. Lanthimos challenges himself to build on his previous films, adding more and more sophisticated characteristics. He normally works with the same cinematographer, but this time, Robbie Ryan (American Honey) stepped up to the plate. Not knowing the ins and outs of Lanthimo’s previous films, Ryan had to adapt quickly and boy did he ever! The film feels as though you are looking through a GoPro, and for those who haven’t looked through one, it looks like a fish eye and exceptionally wide. The shots are truly marvels, beautiful and unique.
Bottom line: Lanthimos brought together a stellar ensemble cast, showed us a wacky part of history, and sprinkled his artistic vision with stunning sets and costume design. It’s pretty much the full package! Rightfully nominated for several awards, The Favourite is a must-see this season!