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.

93%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 405

69%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,188

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Movie Info

In the early 18th century, England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne occupies the throne, and her close friend Lady Sarah governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne's ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing, and Abigail sees a chance to return to her aristocratic roots.

Cast & Crew

Rachel Weisz
Lady Sarah
James Smith
Godolphin
Mark Gatiss
Lord Marlborough
Liam Fleming
Kevin
Carolyn Saint-Pé
Madame Tournée
Deborah Davis
Screenwriter
Tony McNamara
Screenwriter
Ed Guiney
Producer
Andrew Lowe
Executive Producer
Daniel Battsek
Executive Producer
Rose Garnett
Executive Producer
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News & Interviews for The Favourite

Critic Reviews for The Favourite

All Critics (405) | Top Critics (52) | Fresh (378) | Rotten (27)

Audience Reviews for The Favourite

  • Feb 21, 2020
    Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone star in the incredibly dull and ugly period drama The Favourite. The story follows two cousins in the royal court as they vie for the affections of Queen Anne, each manipulating her to their own ends. The filmmakers admit upfront that they don't care about historical accuracy, and are re-imagining the people and events. But worse than that are the bizarre directing choices; using distorted camera angles randomly for no apparent reason. Weisz and Stone both give strong performances, but they're playing dislikable characters (cheating, conniving bitches, though not in a fun way). Still, some of the dark humor and slapstick works, and the sets and costumes are incredibly well-done. Yet overall The Favourite is an extremely boring film that's poorly made.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 27, 2019
    Unfortunately, not as weird as what I've come to expect from Lanthimos, but still compelling, gorgeous, and irreverent, even darkly funny by times.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • 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

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