The Favourite (2018)
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Sumptuous and stunning. With THE FAVOURITE, director Yorgos Lanthimos delivers his best film yet - one that works as both a historical drama and a sex comedy that features beautiful cinematography courtesy of Robbie Ryan (Lanthimos really loves him some fisheye lenses) and gorgeous costume design courtesy of Sandy Powell (just give her the Oscar already because wow). Lanthimos, working for the first time with a screenplay that he didn't co-write, deals primarily with themes of power and the way it impacts the three women at the center of the film. Despite not having had a hand in writing the screenplay, Lanthimos seems to be in his wheelhouse, crafting a stirring yet (darkly) humorous rumination on humankind's innate desire to posses power, whether it be political, sexual, or anything in between. Granted, Lanthimos is also working with some of the most talented actresses working today and the big three (Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone) all deliver some of the best work of their career. As crazy as it might sound, however, and despite Colman's Best Actress win at Venice for her portrayal of Queen Anne, this is Stone's film. I'm already frustrated by the fact that she will be campaigned in the Best Supporting Actress field despite the fact that the film wholly follows her arc. That's not to take anything from Colman, whose performance is likely the most impressive of the three, but I do feel it's something to take note of. However, the film isn't flawless, and it once again demonstrates that Lanthimos' greatest weakness as a director is his inability to deliver a satisfying conclusion. I loved THE LOBSTER, but the last ten minutes left a bitter taste in my mouth that I detested. I was a bit cooler on THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, and the last ten minutes proved a bit too dark for me. This time, even a great final shot isn't enough to save the last fifteen minutes of the film from seeming necessary. The film simply (and suddenly) runs out of steam before it crosses the finish line - an unfortunate occurrence considering the fact that nearly everything before it proved wickedly entertaining. That being said, I'm excited to see what Lanthimos does next. I just hope he nails the ending.
Directors: Yorgos Lanthimos
Production: Waypoint Entertainment, Element Pictures, Scarlet Films, Film4 Productions, Fox Searchlight Pictures
England, early 18th century. The close relationship between Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill is threatened by the arrival of Sarah's cousin, Abigail Hill, resulting in a bitter rivalry between the two cousins to be the Queen's favourite.