Director Yorgos Lanthimos is known for some very weird films: Dogtooth (2009), The Lobster (2015), and The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017). These films are all very Ôhigh conceptÔ? and never less than interesting and intriguing (if not always fully successful). So, I was surprised when I discovered his most recent film was a British period drama Ô" the early 1700s, an era of high curly wigs and extreme foppishness (see Peter GreenawayÔ(TM)s The DraughtmanÔ(TM)s Contract, 1982, for another example). Queen Anne ruled (from 1702 to 1714) and she is played in the film by Olivia Colman who won the Best Actress Oscar for her frumpy, childish, but self-aware monarch. Everyone else at court is trying to manipulate Anne or curry her favour, including sexually. At the start of the film, her ÔfavouriteÔ? is Lady Sarah of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz) who uses her association with the queen (friend and lover) to her advantage by acting for the queen in parliament and generally ruling the roost. When Abigail (Emma Stone), SarahÔ(TM)s cousin (who has lost her nobility due to a wanton father), shows up begging for a place as a servant, no one could expect the political and personal machinations that she sets in train. Every critic mentions All About Eve (1950) which also featured a combative female rivalry between a faux-na├»ve ing├ (C)nue and a salty veteran and itÔ(TM)s not far wrong. The script here (by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara) is similarly biting but also far more ribald. You never quite know who will end with the upper hand and the experience of humiliation is rife -- for all the central characters (including the men who race ducks in their wigs and make-up, relegated to minor parts). In this way, Lanthimos captures the current zeitgeist where we see women moving to take and exert power, forging alliances when they need to, often acting pragmatically and cynically but sometimes acting sincerely and from the heart (those who do not get their comeuppance). In the end, it is hard to ferret whether there is a verdict about gender relations or human relations here, but it is enough to enjoy the wicked tete-a-tete (a tete) set among the beautifully set decorated environs, shot with natural light, and marvellous tracking shots. Lanthimos canÔ(TM)t help but thrown in a few very weird moments as well. Thumbs up!