McCann At The Movies: ‘The Favourite’ Is A Wonderfully Weird Satirical Drama

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Anchored by some magnificent performances, John McCann says ‘The Favourite’ is a worthy of all the praised lavished upon it…

It’s fair to say that Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos is an acquired taste.

His previous features ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ and ‘The Lobster’ whilst bold and at times brilliant, are also polarising and not for all cinematic tastes.

His latest film ‘The Favourite’ does bridge that gap from the wonderfully weird to the mainstream whilst still having the Greek auteur’s fingerprints all over it and this is largely due to the three simply incredible performances from its’ leading actors.

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Olivia Colman as Queen Anne in ‘The Favourite’.

After a limited release nationwide earlier in the year, ‘The Favourite’ thankfully gets its platform at Tralee Omniplex this week, giving local audiences the chance to see first-hand newly-crowned Oscar winner Olivia Colman’s award-winning performance as Queen Anne.

Set in early 18th century with England at war with the French, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her place while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper.

When a new servant, Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah, with Sarah taking Abigail under her wing and Abigail seeing 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 blossoming friendship gives her a chance to fulfil her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.

Dressed up in period drama clothes, this film is so much more – dark, cutting, cruel, funny, sad, uncomfortable, yet it looks incredible thanks to the work of cinematographer Robbie Ryan who achieves the royal over-the-top flamboyant look with ease.

Olivia Colman quite rightly received her Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe for a performance of complexity, anarchy and wit that is worthy of all the gushing praise that has come her way in recent times.

Large credit too has to go to Rachel Weiss and Emma Stone for two equally impressive portrayals. The obvious chemistry between the cast is clear for all to see, with the film so much the better for it.

Nicholas Hoult, also deserves recognition for a wonderfully spiteful performance as Robert Harley may get overlooked due to the success and recognition rightly given to his co-stars.

As with most Lanthimos’s features, this will not be for everyone and is sure to gain a mixed reaction at the Omniplex, but for me, due to the director’s bold filmmaking style (at times resembling Kubrick’s ‘Barry Lyndon’), the cast’s larger than life performances and a tale that will keep you intrigued until the very end.

‘The Favourite’ is worthy of its place at the top table at this year’s awards events.


• For more of John McCann’s movie reviews, check out his Facebook page here and website here

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