The Favourite

Emma Stone appears as a servant who befriends Queen Anne’s right hand lady in Yorgos Lanthimos’ 'The Favourite'


The Favorite ★★★ 1/2

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos has gradually been borrowing from the late Stanley Kubrick for the past decade with films like Dogtooth and The Lobster and last year’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer. He moves fully into homage with his latest, an 18th century costume drama that would make a remarkable double-feature with 1975’s Barry Lyndon, Kubrick’s own historical look at the aristocracy. But while both filmmakers are notable for their cold, clinical touch, with The Favourite, the absurdist approach of Athens-born Lanthimos has produced a more wildly entertaining film than almost any other this year—at least for its first half when his bristling critiques of the ruling class are hilariously scabrous. Much of this laughter comes courtesy of Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara’s literate (and wildly profane) screenplay, but it’s the three central actresses who make the material pop. Discarding the deadpan delivery that featured in the four films that Lanthimos co-wrote with longtime collaborator Efthymis Filippou, Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone delve into the occasionally anachronistic dialogue, devouring the scenery, and sometimes, one another, backgrounding the men in their lives. Gout-stricken Queen Anne (Colman) shares a very close relationship with Lady Sarah (Weisz), who handles the day-to-day governing while Anne suffers in bed. But when Sarah’s commoner cousin Abigail (Stone) takes the lowly position of servant, she quickly rises through the ranks, threatening to become the queen’s new fave. (At Boston Common, Coolidge Corner, Fenway, Kendall Square and in the suburbs.)

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