We've entered the time of year where I spend most of my weekends trying to see as many of the Golden Globe and Oscar nominated movies as possible. I've already gone to A Star is Born, Green Book, Widows (review to come) and this past weekend I went to see The Favourite.
If you haven't heard of it, The Favourite tells the story of two rivals - Sarah Churchill and Abigail Masham - vying for Queen Anne's attention during her reign in 18th-century England. In the film, Queen Anne is played by Olivia Colman, who I loved in Broadchurch and has been cast as Queen Elizabeth II in the third season of The Crown on Netflix.
Olivia Colman must be the least vain person on the planet because they made her look positively disgusting in this role. Queen Anne suffers from a myriad of health problems, including serious issues with her legs, causing her to request "massages" from her ladies in waiting. She also keeps 17 rabbits in her bedroom; she explains "each one represents a child I have lost." I didn't know much about Queen Anne going into the film, so had to do a fact check on if she truly had 17 miscarriages (and 17 rabbits!). The idea of that kind of exploded my brain.
Rachel Weisz plays Sarah Churchill, a childhood friend of the Queen who has become her right hand and secret lover.
Sarah is ruthless, both in her candor with the Queen and her treatment of the other members of the palace staff. In one particularly memorable scene she tells the Queen her dark eye makeup looks, "like a badger."
Sarah rules the roost until Abigail Masham comes along. Abigail is younger and has learned the art of manipulation through surviving some very difficult situations, like being sold to an older man when her father lost a bet. Abigail schemes her way into the heart of Queen, dethroning Sarah from the number one spot.
I don't want to give away anything more, so instead I will say, the dialogue in this movie is wickedly funny. I laughed out loud multiple times and often had my jaw hanging down at the brazen and biting comments.
The scenery and costumes are spectacular, spotlighting the absurd opulence of the royals during that era. The Queen's library reminded me of the majestic library in Beauty & The Beast.
The Favourite is nominated in multiple categories at the upcoming Golden Globe Awards - Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Olivia Colman) and Best Supporting Actress (both Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone).
If you saw the film and left wanting to know more about these three women and their real-life history together, I highly recommend reading these two pieces - Vanity Fair and TIME - which do an excellent job explaining what was true, and what was sensationalized for the movie.