The Favourite

FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

Absurd and sinfully refreshing is just a few words to describe the Oscar nominated film, ‘The Favourite.’ I would say if you sit and watch the film as a historical and accurate one – my apologies to burst your bubble, but it is not. I shall not banter on which facts were incorrect; this is a film review and my observance picks directly from its narrative.

Summary

‘The Favourite’ is broken down in acts making it more intriguing as if you’re reading the screenplay. How the film opens is with the current Queen of Great Britain named Anne (Olivia Colman). In her late 50s, Anne has an ailment which causes her leg to swollen and sometimes bleed. Along with her friend and companion, Sarah: The Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz). She foresees the Queen’s daily tasks. In addition, because she is a Duchess, Sarah is often involved in political decisions of the Kingdom. As a result, it brushes with Robert Harley (Nicolas Holt), the Leader of the Opposition.

Minutes into the film, a new maid arrives to the castle. She states she is Sarah’s cousin, Abigail (Emma Stone). Once of a noble herself, her family faces financial hardships causing the mysterious Abigail seeking help from Sarah.

Olivia Colman as Queen Anne and Rachel Weisz as Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough in Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite
ATSUSHI NISHIJIMA/ALAMY

With hesitation, Sarah hires her as her personal maid. It is rapidly disclosed, Sarah is more than just the Queen’s companion. She is also her secret lover. Abigail is surprised by the unforeseen discovery and this causes a fascination to a ladder of power within the kingdom.

Enchanting the queen with her kind gestures and pleasing her sexually – Abigail replaces Sarah as her new favorite. Fueled by anger, Sarah wants to remove Abigail to then finding her self poisoned by her cousin. Intoxicated, Sarah goes to a horseback ride and for two weeks the duchess is lost.

Anne believing this is just an act of jealousy – does not look for her lost former lover. During Sarah’s absence, as a gift to her new favorite – Abigail is married to Samuel Masham (Joe Alwyn), a baron from her court. With these situations developing at a rapid pace, Abigail fears of Sarah’s return and begins to question if she’s dead or not. Two weeks pass by, Sarah was rescued by a prostitute and returns to the palace.

Frustrated by the news, Sarah blackmails Queen Anne to fulfill her demands; if she’d refused, the duchess was going to mail all of the Queen’s sexually explicit letters to the press. Anne complies with her wishes, yet exiles Sarah from the palace.

Abigail triumphant with her victory, she finds that Sarah was committing embezzlement. Although Sarah eliminated the compromising letters; Anne sends Sarah and her husband away from Britain for treason.

Whilst, the baroness starts to behave differently, loosing her modesty for luxury and her taste for liquor. She reads a novel in the Queen’s room, her foot lands in the Queen’s rabbits whom she treasure them like her children.

Anne is disgruntled, remorseful and silently missing Sarah; Abigail strike against her rabbit and this does not sit well with her. Abigail’s days as ‘The Favourite’ are on route to an end, by grasping her blond hair as if she was a cane. Lending this is as the final scene. At the same time, this is the beginning of a bitter era for the ambitious baroness.

Final Thoughts

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FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

The three protagonists reflect a destructive love triangle that is an engagement for leverage and opulence. With a Queen that is ill, childless and with a King that is absent. (It is implied that the King may also be dead, yet it is never confirmed) The film is gracefully satisfying, it did not rely on a large cast to seduce the audience.

Enchanting and twisted at every corner, ‘The Favourite’ is amusing. With three amazing actresses, ‘The Favourite’ may lack historical accuracy, yet it is satirical and fantastic.

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