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"The Favourite" Cannoli Send a noteboard - 01/02/2019 07:43:18 AM

"The Favourite," if you saw the same trailers as I, looks like a quirky period piece about a mannered catfight between two female courtiers, striving for the titular position relative to the queen. Rachel Weisz is Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough, Olivia Colman plays Queen Anne and Emma Stone is Abigail Masham. Also Nicholas Hoult is the Earl of Oxford, and one of the more entertaining characters.

Anyway, while the film is sort of funny, it's through shock and crudity. Crudity is a huge thing in the movie, and I think it's deliberate. The way it's shot, the way they do costumes & makeup seem intent on de-glamorizing the court and the inner circles of the high nobility. Even the title cards between acts are "printed" in full justified mode, with even margins on both sides, so the words are stretched out with wide spaces between the letters. You can read the epigrams and they're nice and neat, but it's still visually jarring. And that's what the movie seems to be trying to do. The characters, with their fancy British accents are constantly dropping obscenities and vulgarities. Both Abigail & Sarah have sexual relationships with Anne, usually portrayed as manipulative or exploitative. The humor is pretty dark, and it plays up the practices of the early 18th century which are absurd to modern eyes, and playing fast and loose with the historical events. For instance, Harley recruits Abigail to be his agent in the Queen's household to counter Sarah's Whig agenda, and there are any number of conversations between them, with no indication that they were related, and more closely than the referenced relationship between her and Sarah. One of the ironies of that, is the whole subversion thing the film is doing with the setting and class issues, could have been better served in the character department by extending the narrative to include the historical stuff that happened after the film ends.

It makes me suspicious that the subversion theme is just an excuse to go for shocks and crude laughs. If that's your thing, the movie is a pretty good bet. Just don't expect Downton Abbey or a comedy of manners.

Cannoli
“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
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"The Favourite" - 01/02/2019 07:43:18 AM 91 Views
I agree with most of this... but still, somehow, it works. - 04/02/2019 06:20:43 PM 24 Views
Re: I agree with most of this... but still, somehow, it works. - 04/02/2019 11:49:43 PM 26 Views

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