The Favourite

Critics Consensus

The Favourite sees Yorgos Lanthimos balancing a period setting against rich, timely subtext - and getting roundly stellar performances from his well-chosen stars.



Total Count: 383


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,449
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Movie Info

Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne's ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen's companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.

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Critic Reviews for The Favourite

All Critics (383) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (357) | Rotten (26)

Audience Reviews for The Favourite

  • Apr 19, 2019
    A nicely done expose of what knife-in-the-back politics can happen while the boys are off fighting a war (the English, again, with the French!). In this one the ladies mix it up pretty damn good, dressed to the 17th century nines for their WWF cage match-up. The queen is a little addlepated upstairs and so requires some hands-on coaching, and so inadvertently setting up the battle to be her "best friend" in court. Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone are killer as the main event, but Olivia Coleman's Queen is like looking at one of those will-you-feed-this-hungry-child infomercials they show overnight. Wicked badger.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 22, 2019
    Prestige cinema indeed! The Favourite is a period drama about two women feuding over the affections and favor of the long suffering and mercurial Queen Anne. It is essentially Barry Lyndon with a dash of the Coen Bros, in that we get a Kubrick-esque perfectly framed rendition of eighteenth-century aristocracy, but with plenty of dark comedy and offbeat humor along the way. The reason to be here, of course, are our two leading actresses, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. Weisz plays Sarah, the Duchess of Marlborough (husband of the Duke of Marlborough, the famous British soldier), while Stone plays her disgraced cousin Abigail, attempting a climb back up the social ladder. Sarah is the more established, masculine, and business-oriented rival, while Abigail is the more playful, effeminate, and underhanded contender. When you play the Game of Thrones...well, you know the rest. The Favourite is perhaps the best shot film of the year and I wasn't kidding with the Barry Lyndon comparison earlier. Both and indoor and outdoor scenes appear naturally lit, and there are many moments where only dim candlelight illuminates the cavernous and ornate rooms which dwarf our subjects. Every image is presented as a painting, which often frames the characters against other works of art - presenting them as both a masterpiece and caricature of themselves and the period they represent. Director Yorgos Lanthimos is known for his offbeat and controversial films (The Lobster and Killing of a Sacred Deer) and this is perhaps his most conventional film to date, but don't let that label mislead you. It's a still a serious picture that intends to challenge you. Both Weisz and Stone are goddamn perfect and deserve every statue thrown their way. But I'd be remiss not to mention Olivia Colman as Queen Anne. Colman plays Anne as borderline autistic and manic-depressive and avoids hamming up her performance, which would have cheapened the film. The film takes INCREDIBLE liberties with historical accuracy for some of her behavior and relationships, but I understand the artistic intent. This film gets a lot of mileage out of the theme that royal "favourites" were essentially prostitutes (sexual or not), who shaped the course of history, for better or for worse. The ending is a bit bizarre and may irk audiences with its abstract nature. I understood its symbolism, but it was truly an odd choice. Either way, The Favourite is the best period drama of 2018 and among the more interesting dramas in recent memory.
    Joshua S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 19, 2019
    Overrated? Most assuredly, but utterly engaging from beginning to end. Not Yorgos' most humorous piece, but technically sound and brilliantly acted. Final rating:â~...â~...â~... - I liked it. Would personally recommend you give it a go.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 18, 2019
    Whether you call yourself a fan of the films that Yorgos Lanthimos directs or not, itâ(TM)s without question that his movies arenâ(TM)t for everyone. They are pieces of art that not everyone can understand or are even willing to try understanding. So take my review of The Favourite with a large grain of salt because Iâ(TM)m someone who can get into anything, no matter what the subject matter is. That being said, The Favourite is one of the most unique films of 2018 and for that reason alone, will have me remembering it for quite some time. While I donâ(TM)t think The Favourite is perfect in any way, I do feel like certain film fanatics will eat this one up. Thereâ(TM)s a reason this film is circulating around awards season (deservedly so), but I personally believe it deserves the recognition and not a win. Set quite far into the past in England, The Favourite follows the servants of Queen Anne. As needy as she is invested romantically in her first hand servant, everything falls to pieces when a new one arrives in Abigail. Aside from a frowned-upon romance that does have a three-act structure throughout the course of this movie, my biggest complaint is that it felt a little light on story. There are other side plots and hints of backstory that are eluded to, but I felt a little short-changed when looking back on the filmâ(TM)s story as a whole. As I mentioned, The Favourite will be remembered for many reasons by film fans around the world, but I believe the story will be remembered far less than everything else this film has to offer. From the very first shot of this film to the time the credits rolled, I was enthralled by how impeccably filmed this movie was. It should come as no surprise when you have a cinematographer like Robbie Ryan at the helm. While I havenâ(TM)t seen a lot of films that he has worked on, I absolutely loved his work on both American Honey and Slow West. He has a keen eye for camera work and I canâ(TM)t wait to see what he does next. On top of that, the score present throughout this movie is incredibly engaging, to say the least. This is a very tight screenplay, with not very many breaths taken between lines of dialogueâ"but when there is, the score takes over in a majorly memorable way. Since weâ(TM)re on the topic of things to remember about this film, the cast is near perfect in every way. I normally donâ(TM)t say that about many movies, because thereâ(TM)s usually at least one casting choice that throws me off, but The Favourite is immaculate in that regard. From Emma Stone giving her all, to Rachel Weisz giving her best performance in years, to Olivia Colman as the Queen, I was either laughing hysterically or sucked in by a dramatic delivery. If for nothing else, this is a movie thatâ(TM)s worth seeing for the performances alone. Donâ(TM)t be shocked if you see this cast sweeping many of the female awards categories in the coming weeks. In the end, The Favourite is nearly perfect on a technical level, but the substance itself felt slightly lacking to me. The screenplay by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara packs a heavy punch in terms of the dialogue throughout and I found myself remembering moments in David Fincher films where the dialogue flies a mile a minute, which are my favourite kind of screenplays. Overall, I canâ(TM)t say this is one of the best films of the year, like many critics are, but I can recognize that certain elements absolutely are. I had a great time watching this movie and certain viewers will as well. If youâ(TM)re not intrigued by the trailer for this one, I donâ(TM)t believe the movie will do a good job of winning you over.
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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