In Yorgos Lanthimos’ wildly intricate and very darkly funny new film, Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz), and her servant Abigail Hill (Emma Stone) engage in a sexually charged fight to the death for the body and soul of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) at the height of the War of the Spanish Succession. This trio of truly brilliant performances is the dynamo that powers Lanthimos’ top-to-bottom reimagining of the costume epic, in which the visual pageantry of court life in 18th century England becomes not just a lushly appointed backdrop but an ironically heightened counterpoint to the primal conflict unreeling behind closed doors.
“This couldn’t be further from the corsets and curtsies of your typical Hollywood prestige period piece. It’s more like ALL ABOUT EVE directed by a SATYRICON-era Fellini all hopped up with enough sex, deviance, hypocrisy, decadence, and spicy profanity to make your average Masterpiece Theatre patron reach into their PBS tote bag for some smelling salts.” —Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly “THE FAVOURITE has ribaldry and intelligence to burn, a deliciously entertaining period piece that feels liberated by its period, rather than restrained and invigorates like a glass of wine thrown violently in your face.” —John Bleasdale, Cinevue “The energy generated by three talents at the top of their game and the energy generated by their characters swirl and merge in a perfect storm.” —Lee Marshall, ScreenDaily “What makes THE FAVOURITE work are its women—who rule, both literally within the movie and outwardly, dominating our enjoyment. Unlike the similarly set BARRY LYNDON or DANGEROUS LIAISONS, which had strong female characters toppled by the whims of strutting cocks, Lanthimos’ latest makes men extraneous, building a potent hothouse atmosphere swirling with secret desires and the hope of being petted.” —Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out
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