The Favourite (2018)

Three excellent leads stir a story about hierarchy, transactional relationships, perceived power, and all the other sort of concepts a costumed drama about queer women gives rise to. Director Yorgos Lanthimos films with striking fisheye lenses accentuating the warped perceptions at play (both of the individual characters and the monarchical setting in general), and he deploys his anachronisms well, particularly in an amusing dance sequence.

Frequent montages and superimpositions make the whole affair feel somewhat dreamy, but Lanthimos always keeps everything feeling very cohesive and of-the-whole (the matter-of-fact way the relationships in the film are depicted completely quashes any idea of gimmickry or courted controversy, even setting aside whatever level of historicity it achieved).

Depicting the monarchy as completely and utterly depraved and infantile, rather than classy in any fashion, was an excellent choice. It’s certainly difficult to approach empathising with them, but even then the film succeeds in flipping up the dominant audience alignment with characters in the ending, inverting a lot of the film’s points about ambition and transaction to make a larger point about how monarchy fundamentally humiliates and demeans every single one of its subjects. Three and a half rabbits, and some cake.


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