Film Review – The Favourite

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IT was once said that you should not ruin a good story with the facts.

The Favourite’, a warped period tragicomedy from director Yorgos Lanthimos, bolsters this belief with confidence and fortitude.

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This is not your average royal ensemble piece where aloof aristocrats sit around gilded boudoirs grazing on cucumber sandwiches while grappling with their corsets. Certainly not!

Instead, we are yanked down the rabbit-hole for an incendiary two-fingered send up of the senselessness and decadence of the royals.

Lanthimos’s movie feels like it were pulled from the imagination of punk rock documentary director Julien Temple. All that is missing from this anarchic roast is cameo appearances from Johnny Rotten and Vivienne Westwood to complete its riotous perspective.

And speaking of rabbit-holes, don’t get bogged down with the historical accuracy of this ill-fated tale and whether Queen Anne really kept 17 bunnies in her bedchamber. The fantastical falsehoods depicted here, such as the 18th Century blue-bloods’ ardent love of duck racing, only adds to the turbulent din.

Olivia Colman deserves all the accolades, sure to be bestowed on her, for her role as the frail, and often badger-like, monarch. However, equally mesmerising is Emma Stone as Abigail, the lowly scullery maid “capable of much unpleasantness”, and Rachel Weisz as the hard-nosed and straight-shooting Lady Sarah.

‘The Favourite’ is as macabre and sad as it is crude and hilarious. There is a bizarre dreamlike quality throughout as favour shifts on the breeze with the deathliest and most underhand of betrayals.

Like some deranged cross between ‘Blackadder II’ and a lost Adam and the Ants music video, it makes for essential viewing.