With films like The Lobster, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Yorgos Lanthimos has earned a reputation as one of the most exciting and original directors working today. His latest film, The Favourite, only cements that reputation. For those unfamiliar with his style and expecting yet another stuffy drama about royalty in early 18th Century England, be forewarned: The Favourite is unrestrained, entertaining, funny and occasionally nasty.
As the war between England and France continues, sickly Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) has little interest in the everyday business of ruling a kingdom. Her longtime friend and occasional lover, Sarah, the Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz (Disobedience) is constantly by her side, having gained considerable influence over the monarch’s decisions. While the country is overtaxed to pay the bills, worrying Parliament member Robert Harley (Nicholas Hoult) Anne continues living her opulent lifestyle, raising more concern for her horde of rabbits than the suffering of the British people. In to this environment comes Sarah’s younger cousin, Abigail Hill (Emma Stone), who lost everything to the gambling habits of her father. In search of work., Abigail is placed as a scullery maid, but she wants more. A pretty girl, she finds herself fending off the advances of royal court member Samuel Masham (Joe Alwyn), while setting her sights on taking Sarah’s place in the Queen’s life. This is Abigail’s chance to return to return to her aristocratic roots, and she won’t go down without a fight.
The story is divided into eight acts—while the chapter titles do help to build anticipation for what’s coming next, a few ruins some of the surprise. Even so, much of the story is captivating, with just a few scenes near the midpoint that drag a bit. Olivia Colman’s stunning performance rescues any slow moments. Queen Anne is both intimidating and insecure. Childish, needy, stubborn, and manipulative, she changes moods on a dime. In close-ups, Colman’s subtle changes in expression reveal a woman of great power dealing with a lot of pain and sadness.
While Sarah and Abigail aren’t as fascinating as Anne, the performances of Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone are outstanding. Weisz delivers her dialogue with a brutal self-assurance, while Stone uses Abigail’s supposed naivete to her advantage, appearing sweet and becoming wonderfully nasty when necessary. It also helps that Weisz. Stone, and Colman have wonderful chemistry together. It seems clear that all three of them truly enjoyed working together.
Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p presentation is a strong one. Sharpness is good across the board, with just s few interiors showing slight softness. There are no real print flaws to mention. The largely orange/teal color palette comes across nicely. Blacks are inky throughout. Low light shots reveal a nice level of clarity. Viewers should be pleased with this transfer.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track serves the film well. Atmospherics are a focus here, as environmental sounds often appear in the side and rear speakers, and there are a couple of scenes involving ‘sport’ shooting. The score comes through in real surround fashion. Dialogue is clean, clear and concise throughout.
English, Spanish, and French subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 2:47) Each comes with a same type of Chapter Title the film uses
- The Favourite: Unstitching the Costume Drama (HD, 22:19) Members of the cast and crew discuss various elements of their characters, the story, performances, and more.
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:10)
- Digital HD
The Favourite (2018)
Movie title: The Favourite
Director(s): Yorgos Lanthimos
Actor(s): Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult , Olivia Colman , Mark Gatiss , Joe Alwyn
Genre: Biography, Period, Drama, History