The Favourite: A Review

“I like to construct films in a way that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, but so you’ll still be able to enjoy them, be intrigued and start to think about the meaning of things – and hopefully by the end of it, you’ll have some strong desire to keep thinking about them.”
Yorgos Lanthimos

The Favourite: A Review

Recently released, The Favourite is a movie more applauded by the critics than the audience. Without it’s three stars, it probably would have gone to the art house instead of the cineplex.

Let us look at some of the elements on why the critics loved this movie so much.

The Stars
Three women were given great parts to perform. It was a treat to watch professionals at their craft. The director let the camera sit, in close-up, for nice long periods of time to let each actor … well, act! These three alone were worth the price of a ticket.

The R Rating
The rating was for the language, I think. The nudity was mild. The language was graphic and often shouted.

Story Telling Choices
The movie is blocked out in chapters. One chapter might be called The Mud Stinks or another might be called I Dreamed I Put a Knife in Your Left Eye; that sort of thing. Because it was in sequential chunks, each chapter could be complete in itself. Each scene was like an unfinished sentence until the final scene in the chapter where it all came together. Critics love that stuff.

There was a choice to use a fish-eye lens in a few places. These were scenes inside the castle to show the incredible opulence of the hallways, floors, walls and ceiling — everything decorated in detail that went on and on and on. As weird as a fish-eye lens is, it really did the job well.

It’s a Period Piece.
Yep, these people really existed. I doubt it was as crazy as we saw in the movie; but maybe so. We’d like to believe a lot of it. And it really got to be wacky at times.

Pecking Order and Power
I think that the movie really is all about power and the pecking order that we saw from the Queen all the way down to the cleaning maid. The rules were strict. The power was used with relish on the lowers. It could be ugly and harsh and mean. We would call it unfair by today’s standard but it was a fact in those times and that is kind of the point of the movie.

The Final Image
Everything leads up to the very final image. We see the Queen telling her new favourite to rub her leg. The favourite kneels down to rub her calf. The Queen puts her hand on the favourite’s head, leaning down, holding her weight as she stares off. No matter how far up the Favourite had climbed in the pecking order, she’d still and always be beneath the Queen. We see her move her neck, trying to adjust to the weight of the Queen.

The Final Image: part two
The Queen, we learned early on had tried to give birth but failed seventeen times. She has seventeen rabbits. The final bit where the favourite has a hand on her head to hold the Queen’s weight as the camera cross-fading (not cutting) from the rabbits to the favourite to the Queen, over and over as the music slowly turns into one loud blast of sound.

It is a good movie. My sister and I talked through the final credits and let the house lights come up as we discussed what we just saw; comparing notes. Those are the best kind of movies, right?

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