Our Young Critic Harriet Findlay-Wilson discovers the far from average period drama.
Warning: this is not your average period drama! Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos; and written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, The Favourite tells the story of two cousins competing for Queen Anne’s favour.
In 1708, an infirm Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) is preoccupied with bizarre past-times such as playing with her 17 rabbits, rather than ruling Britain. Her adviser, Lady Marlborough (Rachel Weisz), is effectively ruling the nation through her profound influence on the Queen. This is disapproved by Conservative Parliament member, Robert Harley (Nicholas Hoult), who has alternative taxation plans.
Lady Marlborough’s influence and relationship with the Queen is threatened when her impoverished cousin, Abigail Hill (Emma Stone) arrives at the court. Abigail and Lady Marlborough use sexuality and manipulation to compete for the Queen’s favour, and it has a significant impact on the court and the nation.
The Favourite has been hugely successful, with Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, amongst others, the list of accolades is endless. Although the accolades are well deserved, hearing of them gave me very high expectations of the film, which were not met. The film’s comedic elements solely seem to relate to sex and little else.
However, the multi-award-winning actress Olivia Colman (from Broadchurch and The Night Manager), does a fantastic performance as the decrepit and hysterical Queen Anne. Colman provides much of the hilarity and is deserving of the praise received for her performance.
Most importantly, the film excels in displaying the strength and power of women, through the portrayal of these historical women, and through the actresses’ immense talent.