Yorgos Lanthimos is an intriguing filmmaker. I hated his last movie "The Lobster" which was praised by critics as brilliant, but left me cold and angered for wasting my time on it.
There is no doubt that I enjoyed his latest film THE FAVOURITE much more than his last, but I'd be hard pressed to recommend it...I think....
Set in 18th Century England, we meet lesser royalty in Queen Anne (the terrific Olivia Colman), a seemingly daft throne sitter who is oblivious to politics and much of daily life.
She is controlled like a slobbering puppet by her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) whose eye for manipulation, power and control is incredibly keen.
When a distant cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives from the countryside, she threatens to upend the balance of power that Sarah's carefully crafted.
Stone (La La Land) and Weisz (My Cousin Rachel) go toe-to-toe verbally and physically and they're both terrific. One's playing the short game and one the long game, but the battle is unpredictable.
Yanthos and his writers plunk this Victorian costume drama directly into a vortex of modern language and profanity, some very contemporary dance moves and more sex, mud, pratfalls and house pets than you could imagine.
Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road, About a Boy) is a real standout as Harley, a young politician loaded with strategy, drive and the biggest powdered wigs you've ever seen. He's hilarious, spewing dialogue and cunning in every direction.
Colman's role is the most difficult and she is terrific as the Queen, loving these two young women battling for her attention. She surprises them and us along the way again and again. Colman's portrayal gets more complicated as the film goes on, she's very good.
It's dark, adult, nasty fun, laced with some fantastic English putdowns that are as funny as they are vulgar.
The music is by turns terrific and incredibly annoying, flailing wildly in different directions like the Queen's moods.
But that ending.... no spoiler alerts needed here, I wont divulge anything other than to say that I felt it was a murky and unsatisfactory way to conclude the saga of these three incredibly powerful women.
They and WE deserve better.
I like dark, twisted and funny, but I also desire coherence and for that reason, I'll give THE FAVOURITE a C+.