Oscar Bait – The Favourite

Title: The Favourite
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Year: 2018
Country: UK/Ireland

There is nothing about the blurb of the film that made me doubt how much I would end up loving it. I mean, a period comedy-drama, directed by the man behind Dogtooth and starring Olivia Colman and Emma Stone. That alone is worth the price of admission (which is now hard to gauge now since I finally took the plunge and paid for a cinema membership card). Having watched it, I find it hard to remember the last film that stimulated so many discussions afterwards.

Set in 1708, The Favourite tells the story of Queen Anne and two cousins who end up battling for the title of her favourite in court. In one corner is Sarah, who has occupied this position for decades and is Queen Anne’s secret lover. In the other is Abigail, Sarah’s cousin whose family have fallen on hard times and wants to regain her title of being a lady. This tale of a royal lesbian love triangle is further complicated by Britain’s war with France and a whole host of political machinations operating in the background.

Aside from the lesbianism, I get how this story can sound a little bit dry. Then again, this is national treasure Olivia Colman we’re talking about, so how dare you. To say that I laughed out loud in this film would be an understatement. Whilst this film deals with darker topics like depression, multiple child loss (Queen Anne losing 17 children in her lifetime) and disfigurement – The Favourite is incredibly funny.

In a year where A Star Is Born had previously been anointed for awards glory, it was frustrating to think that a great film like The Favourite might miss out of a lot of awards. However, hope springs eternal with this film having the joint most nominations at this year’s awards… so you never know. As of the moment I cannot think of another performance as good as Olivia Colman’s. She completely runs the emotional gamut as Queen Anne – makes you laugh with her, laugh at her, cry with her, pity her, get frustrated with her and (ultimately) proud of her. At the moment she looks like she may lose out to perennial bridesmaid Glenn Close, but we’ll just have to see.

I also think this deserves some love for the Art Direction, Costuming and Screenplay – but as for Best Picture… I can’t judge as I haven’t seen all of them yet, but this is going to be hard to beat.

So, as normal, here are my rankings as things are now:

1) The Favourite
2) Black Panther

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