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I'm a big fan of historical literature. I read a lot of historical novels. Especially English history. "Wolf Hall" for instance. I loved both books and the PBS series based on them as well. But Yorgos Lanthimos is no Hillary Mantle. Saw his film with a friend and we both hated it. Not only did I not care about the characters, I found them loathsome and I could have cared less what happened to them. Or if any of it was true. I especially wondered where the naked fat man giggleing and holding his penus while dodging orange peels thrown at him by members of Parliament came from. So I decided to find out how much of the plot of "The Favorite" is historically accurate. You can do this too; Google, Wickepedia, History vs Hollywood, whatever. True: Anne was fat, dull, indecisive, sickly and died of gout. True: she lost seventeen children. False: There were no bunnies hopping 'bout her bedroom in memory of said children. Rabbits were considered either food or vermin; either way, they would have been shot. True: Anne and Sarah were friends from childhood, Sarah dominated Anne and frequently advised and or spoke for her. True: Sarah got her cousin Abigale a position at court when the family lost their fortune due to Abigale's father's gambling. True the two women gradually became rivals for Anne's affection. False: The rest. "While there have been rumors of sexual relationships between both Queen Anne and Lady Sarah, and Queen Anne and Abigail Hill, most historians and biographers reject this notion. The movie uses the fictionalized love triangle to heighten the drama and add another dimension to the rivalry between Anne and Sarah." historyvshollywood.com. And speaking of sex and Anne's seventeen children, where was her husband? True: Alive during the time of the film. False: She's a widow. No she's not! He's alive although ill and right there in Anne's bedroom! And given the fact they had had seventeen children, I think it's safe to conclude they had a pretty "prolific sexual history". And "Biographers cite that Anne was a woman with a strong sense of Christian morality who was devoted to her husband. She shared a room with him and did not ever leave his bed in all his years of dwindling health. Thus, it would have been logistically very difficult for Anne to carry on extramarital affairs." In addition, the film not treating such relationships as taboo is unrealistic for the time, something director Yorgos Lanthimos admitted to approaching with little regard for historical accuracy." So to sum up: Mr. Lanthimos made a film with lesbian sex scenes to titillate the audience and sell tickets. That's not art; that's soft porn. I would rather have seen something with characters I cared about which gave me an insight into what it was like to be those women living at that time in history. I imagine they were more interesting than the film was. By the way...I never could find out what inspired the scene with the giggling naked fat guy dodging orange peels., but I didn't care about him either.
Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2018
Theater review. Possible spoilers. Just in time for awards season comes a costume dramady set in England during Queen Anne’s brief reign from 1707 to 1714 when she died at age 49. Unlike most films of this era of British power, this is no straight ahead drama, of which there is still plenty. This film is directed by Yorgos Lanthimos whose previous 2 films (“The Killing of a Sacred Deer” and “The Lobster”) I didn’t like much. I was more hopeful with this one and I was rewarded. More than a little credit goes to the 3 lead actresses, all of whom provide Oscar-worthy consideration.
Olivia Colman (“Murder on the Orient Express”) plays Anne, a frumpy, often ill monarch. To some degree, due to her inability to bring children into the world. She was pregnant 17 times by her late husband, The Prince of Denmark. In the movie, none survived birth. She replaced them with 17 rabbits who roam her sleeping quarters most of the time.
Lady Sarah, the Duchess of Marlborough is played by Rachel Weisz. Sarah is like the chief of staff and essentially runs the country, having gathered the Queen’s favor, not only with her smarts but in their bedroom encounters. Along comes Abigail (Emma Stone) who is Sarah’s cousin but is no longer among the elites after her husband killed himself by setting their castle on fire.
Abigail, penniless and now a commoner is taken on, at first as a kitchen worker. But Abigail has bigger plans. Slowly but surely she befriends Sarah and eventually Anne having gathered an organic salve for Anne’s gout. She also has no problem sneaking into Anne’s “apartment” for some late night uh…leg massages. The scenes between the 3, either together or in pairs (especially when Sarah and Abigail are together) are downright funny. And the ladies play it all very straight.
Lanthimos’s humor isn’t for everyone and in this film it usually involves sex, some of which is pretty raunchy and the ladies are at the heart of it. A couple of middle aged women sitting near me, were quite shocked if fact. I thought it was great for the women to get their opportunity. One of the best non-raunchy scenes involves Sarah dancing in the ballroom during a party. She and her partner put some moves on that are silly but then suddenly look like 21st century dance clubs moves. Another scene seemed funny but as it went on, just seemed out of place. Lanthimos’s style and humor requires some patience and open mindedness. Sometimes I’m on board and sometimes I don’t know what he’s trying to say.
The costumes are great, the music is great and the technical aspects of the movie are well-done. But this is all about Colman, Weisz and Stone who knock it out of the park. As far as the men. Well, they aren’t that important with the possible exception of Nicholas Hoult who plays Lord Harley, the leader of the Whig party. His scenes with Stone are especially biting. All in all, put this film on the list of award season headliners. Highly recommended.
This film has had wide success. But I found it impossible to understand: the actors speak like ill-functioning robots, not like human beings. The director has no interest in historical reality, or authenticity. It is grotesque, perverse, destructive, and nasty. Poor Queen Anne! A totally negative experience - the product of a sick imagination. A director with no human values at all.
Disppointing. I waited several months for this to be delivered but when it came it was a disappointment. Not only did the disc skip and the picture break up at intervals, the actual film was decidedly odd. I expected great things from this having won so many awards and there are some good moments and excellent performances but it was somewhat self indulgent. I have watched plenty of films that were not mainstream and enjoyed them, but this did nothing for me other than to irritate.
This is absolute nonsense from beginning to end. Produced by the Film4 apparatchiks using public money, they are gifted, although they insist they're not, a substantial amount of licence fee revenue to fund their subversive productions, which this film most certainly is.
Cultural marxism once again attempting to rewrite history. Queen Anne was not a lesbian which has been proven by many leading historians. They add a tiny soupçon of fact, however, it's all part of the right on agenda of these people to twist historical fact, which with this film they have done in spades.
They've essentially taken outrageous liberties with much of the factual values of the period, including the exaggerated costumes which bare no actual resemblance to clothes worn by the persons depicted. About the only thing they correctly portrayed was Queen Annes ill health! A large liberty has been taken in the name of inaccuracy by the makers and participants of this abomination. They should be ashamed of themselves. I doubt that they are.
I was mistified at the PR dept. only showing the scene of Olivia Coleman Bawling the pageboy out for looking at her. That was one of the few scenes fit for family viewing The cinematography was very harsh and soundtrack patchy, also far too much use of the C[:Word]; No I am not a prude The stars and crew comments neatly passed the buck onto the director dont ask me any questions was one comment I noted in particular To think I waited a couple of months for its release on DVD Abig let down COTTY noticed in particular
3.0 out of 5 stars" The Favourite" was certainly not one of mine.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 18, 2019
When it comes to history, it seems that no director/producer ever seems able to stick to simply observed truths. So it was with " The Favourite" Olivia Colman was excellent as Queen Anne, but so much of the story was speculative, and at times absurd. Very disappointing when really we hear so little about her. I felt it was a great opportunity missed to enlighten us.