“The Favourite” is a brilliant period piece


Angel Ortega

“The Favourite” captures some of the best on-screen performances and exquisite production values this year.

The film, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, follows Queen Anne of Britain (Olivia Colman) in her later years during the late 18th century. As war with France drains the British economy and as her health deteriorates, Anne’s closest friend, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), governs the country in place of the queen.

However, when Abigail (Emma Stone), an educated young woman, becomes the newest servant to the queen, tensions rise between Abigail and Lady Sarah as they both aim to be the queen’s “favourite” companion.

Some of the best performances of the year came from Stone, Colman and Weisz.

Colman’s portrayal of Queen Anne was impeccable. Her ability to portray the monarch and capture her deteriorating mental and physical well-being is nothing short of noteworthy.

If Stone’s performance in “La La Land” was worthy of an Oscar, I expect her to bring home another Oscar for her performance in “The Favourite.” Stone’s performance in “The Favourite” is arguably her best performance to date. It’s not easy to deliver a character arc where a character begins as one of the most relatable to the most hated by the end of the film, yet Stone does it seamlessly.

Weisz’s supporting role as Lady Sarah, much like Stone’s performance, carried impressive character development. Lady Sarah’s greed for power and her need to control Anne brought to the screen a character with an immense amount of depth.

On top of outstanding performances from the cast, “The Favourite” had cleverly written dialogue.

The film is set in England during the late 18th century, yet the writers, Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, used modernistic dialogue and humor in a way that complimented the overall flow of the narrative.

Davis and McNamara also used a lot of the issues and predicaments in the film as forms of social commentary toward modern issues which I thought was very well done.

The production value in the film, as well as Lanthimos’ artistic direction, was outstanding. The cinematography–specifically the unorthodox use of fisheye lenses–added a sense of charm to the mood of the film. The costume design for many of the characters is almost as beautiful as the dresses in last year’s “Phantom Thread,” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Lastly, the set designs were breathtaking in their recreation of an 18th-century British manor.

“The Favourite” is a wonderful yet humorous period piece. It’s no surprise that it has garnered ten nominations at this year’s 91st Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and three Best Actress nominations for Stone, Colman and Weisz.

I look forward to watching this film again soon.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] and @AngelOrtegaNews on Twitter.