Movie Review – ‘The Favourite’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Oh dear! ‘The Favourite’. This was a film that I had in mind to see on the big screen after hearing glowing things said about it in 2019. In the end, I saw it on Disney+ in 2021. I’m glad I didn’t have to pay much to see this film because…oh my! This ended up being such a huge disappointment for me.

Now I appreciate people out there who might like this film more than me, but this became such a mess. Never mind how well shot the film was, I found the story and characters very lacking. Almost all of the characters are pretty unlikeable and that includes the three main leads themselves here.

This is ironic because the film won awards since it came out including Academy Awards, BAFTAs and Golden Globes. I didn’t like the text for the opening and closing credits as I couldn’t read most of it in the film. I also wonder why the film’s on Disney+, though it’s through Star more than Disney+ really.

I also doubt the historical accuracy of the film since it takes liberties in terms of how the characters spoke and how lesbian elements were featured. In a way, I’m glad that I’ve seen the film to fulfil my curiosity. But to be honest, I found ‘Joker’ more intriguing and easier to enjoy compared to this film.

The story takes place in England, 1711. Great Britain is at war with France and Queen Anne is in poor health. Two cousins – Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough and Abigail Masham – compete to become the court favourite of the Queen and neither of them become better as they’re so horrible.

This film is meant to be a period black comedy. There were times when I laughed at funny moments in the film. But most of the time, I struggled to follow what the story was about. A lot of the character motivations were so unappealing. Again, I’m not sure how historically accurate this film is.

I was appalled by how Sarah Churchill and Abigail Masham behaved towards each other and when they rivalled for the Queen’s affections. There are rabbits in the film which I liked, as the Queen kept them. But one got stepped upon by Abigail. That is awful. I hope the poor rabbit wasn’t Peter Rabbit. 😀

The film’s cast do deliver generally good performances. The cast is led by Olivia Colman who gives a good performance as Queen Anne. There’s also Rachel Weisz as Sarah Churchill and Emma Stone (who I saw recently in ‘Cruella’) as Abigail Masham. In all fairness, the acting seems decent enough.

I did find it amusing when Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne became mad, especially when telling a footman off and when telling a musical band to stop playing music. The way Olivia Colman delivered that madness was entertaining. It doesn’t make the film any better for me though as I watched it. 😐

There’s also Nicholas Hoult (Tolkien from ‘Tolkien’ and Beast from some of the ‘X-Men’ films) as Robert Harley, the 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer. I didn’t recognise Nicholas Hoult throughout the film with the powdered wig and everything. His put-on snooty voice might also have disguised it.

Joe Alwyn stars as Samuel Masham, who becomes Abigail’s husband I believe. There’s also James Smith as Sidney Godolphin; and Mark Gatiss as Lord Marlborough, Sarah Churchill’s husband. Gosh, Mark Gatiss gets everywhere, doesn’t he? Even his wig doesn’t disguise him, I know it’s Mark Gatiss!

This is after checking out ‘The Crimson Horror’ novelization/audiobook and seeing him in the ‘P.R.O.B.E.’ episodes recently. To be fair, Mark Gatiss’ character is one of the few people I liked in this film, especially when he goes off to war for quite a while. There’s also Jenny Rainsford as Mae.

I’m baffled by how the film ends, especially when Queen Anne witnesses what Abigail is doing to one of her rabbits. She forces herself out of bed and angrily orders Abigail to kneel and massage her leg before she pulls at her hair. I’m not sure if the Queen killed Abigail by the story’s end. It’s confusing.

It doesn’t help when the film ends on that note and the end credits roll up. I felt the film ended on an anti-climax. There was no resolution as to what happened to the three main leads. It felt so disappointing. I couldn’t feel the emotional connection between the characters I found unlikeable. 😦

‘The Favourite’ is not a film I’d consider a ‘favourite’ of mine. I’m baffled by how many people seem to like it more than me. I admit the performances of Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone are decent and if you did like the film more than me, then fair enough. Obviously I did miss something.

I’m reminded of ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ and even that was a film I found forgettable. The only thing I got out from that film was David Tennant in it. Maybe Emma Stone is what I’ll remember from seeing this film. But as for the rest of it, I’m not likely to remember this film so greatly in the future.

To be fair, ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ is a little better than ‘The Favourite’ in my opinion.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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