Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Favourite (2018) - Review

The Favourite is a (somewhat accurate) historical drama that relies more on its style than substance.

Yorgos Lanthimos, the director, certainly made a movie unlike anything else out there. From the camera angles to music and wardrobe, everything is unconventional. The acting is perhaps the most traditional aspect of the movie, and is of course of highest quality. I do not consider Lanthimos an auteur as I still do not see occurrence of similar patterns in his movies. However, his movies are different. Difference doesn't make it a masterpiece though.

The movie is about the rise of Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) and  the fall of Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) in the court of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman). I liked the camera angels that Lanthimos chose to reflect to status of the players in their pursuit for power (or favour). In the beginning, when Abigail was on screen, the camera was almost at knee level and it was looking up. With her rise, the camera gradually moved up to the (classic) shoulder height.

The other unconventional touch was the music, which made me nauseous. At points, there was just one instrument (violin in one instance, or a church organ in another) playing aggressively, which almost deafened the dialogue between the actors.

Overall, the acting was superb, the pacing was okay, but the story was predictable, and the music was unsettling. Similar to Roma, if it weren't for 10 Oscars nominations, I would have quit the movie (maybe just because of its musical score). It is a borderline good movie though, and I'd give it a 6.5/10.

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