Sunday, January 6, 2019


THE FAVOURITE is on a lot of lists of the top ten movies of 2018 and some critics have it as the best of the year. Among my friends though the reactions are mixed, as is mine. No one I know or have read disputes the excellence of the acting by the three female leads or the gratitude most of us feel to have a film where the top three leads are all female.

Olivia Colman's role as the queen is especially brilliant in ways we've rarely seen in films before and never in a starring female role. My guess is she gets nominated for an Oscar. It was worth it for me to see it on the big screen because the cinematography is outstanding as well. Where the mixed responses come in is the writing.

Based on the actual history of three real women, including the rumors of the queen having an affair with at least one of them, the embellishments I could accept, for the sake of the story (e.g. the absence of the queen's husband in the entire flick, or the made up poisoning and being dragged by a horse etc.), but the inconsistencies always get me in scripts.

The most glaring one in THE FAVOURITE to me was Emma Stone's character's brilliance in out thinking and maneuvering the other two throughout the movie except for a giant lapse toward the end where she acts and behaves like someone without a clue. That kind of thing in a film or TV show always makes me squirm with embarrassment for the character, the actor, and the writer who set it in motion.

That's on the writers (first-timer Deborah Davis and TV writer Tony McNamara) and the director Yorgos Lanthimus. Still, there's enough gender role reversals in this film to delight anyone who's been longing for a wider variety of female types and behaviors on the big screen (though some women friends squirmed at female characters acting at times like the worst of male villains).

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