Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

The Favourite

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In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.

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Cast

Olivia Colman – Anne, Queen of Great Britain

Emma Stone – Abigail Hill

Rachel Weisz – Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough

Joe Alwyn – Samuel Masham, 1st Baron Masham

Nicholas Hoult – Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer

Mark Gatiss – John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

James Smith – Sidney Godolphin, 1st Earl of Godolphin

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Favouritism

Right, what the hell is going on here?
I have two issues:

A) why almost everyone is raving about The Favourite as if it’s the most inspiring, hilariously enjoyable thing they have ever seen.

B) why recent cinema has taken a complete nosedive.

But let’s focus on my first point: The Favourite and its seemingly groundbreaking plot and observation of one of England’s historical royal figures. A portrayal of Queen Anne that is played out with no more energy than what you’d see in any other period drama. A film shouted about by some over-enthused member of BAFTA with a lot of contacts who in turn latched on to his or her enthusiasm – and they raved about The Favourite. Mainly because, well. You know. The person’s enthusiasm was so passionate, so infectious it made these contacts want to see it.
Friends of the contacts saw it and loved it.
Friends of these friends saw it and loved it.
And plodding along with the crowds like sheep, thousands of others loved it.

I did not love it. In fact, I barely appreciated it. This was one of those films which ran its dull entirety by throwing in a few gags to ensure it kept the audience on its toes. Clever in production, The Favourite glosses over the fact 80% of it is period misery by convincing the viewer it’s a dark comedy (some reviews state this). A lot of its scenes paint Colman’s character in the blackest of shades; the woman spends most of her screen time screaming and crying. With this are pained facial expressions and aggressive body language.

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At one point Queen Anne is seen collapsed on her chamber floor, wailing like a deer who just got smacked by a car. This then melts into the next scene which, incredibly, is a break from her depressive state by having her tone it down and walk around yelling at other characters instead. A few minutes later and the camera zooms in on her laying in her bed, again moaning at her new maid, Abigail (Stone). Not all the focus is on her though, the story makes room for the likes of Robert Harley (Hoult) and Sidney Godolphin (Smith) who pop up to meander around the set talking political affairs. One gentleman raises his beer tankard to toast recent developments in the clergy, another gentleman’s perruque wig flaps as he taps his cane on the wooden floor..

..sounds captivating doesn’t it?
Exactly.

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The Favourite might have a directing style which throws you right back to the 18th century and a brilliant wardrobe to boot, but the wow factor ends there. It is nothing but miserable elegance wrapped in silk. As high stature as the lead characters are they certainly know how to quash any show of affection or contentment, making the whole era seem like The Great Depression rather than great Dukes and Duchesses. Moments between Stone and Weisz save the day with the ladies exchanging dry banter, but then when haven’t I seen this in the movies?

If you removed the witty dialogue from most scenes, The Favourite would be terrible because it rolls on in its bleak setting like any other period drama. I honestly cannot fathom why many people rave about this movie.

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This entry was posted on April 6, 2019 by .
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