Will Oscar Voters Consider “The Favourite” One of 2018’s Best?

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scene from The Favourite

Does love have its limits? And should it? In The Favourite, two cousins (Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone) play a dangerous game of love and power with an 18th-century English queen (The Crown’s Olivia Colman). The first cousin, and original favorite of the monarch, is a shrewd and lordly lady (Weisz), a very practiced player of the game. However, when a new player steps onto the board in the form of her once aristocratic-now-impoverished cousin (Stone) the game becomes more complicated. Weisz plays for control of the country, Stone for her own survival and comfort, while the queen – less aware of their schemes or the stakes – gropes to fill the void inside her heart and womb. Meanwhile, a young Lord and head of the opposition party (Nicolas Hoult) is playing his game too, in which the stakes are peace or war (though war might secure peace, and peace might invite war).

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This plot may make it sound like a political thriller — and it is thrilling, although not so easily categorized. More important than the its gripping, psychologically complex plot and razor-sharp writing, is the presence of the beguilingly surreal air that greek director Yorgos Lanthimos weaves into his films (The Lobster, The Killing of A Sacred Deer). The Favourite might actually be his most accessible film to date. It’s less hamstrung by flatly affected speech and bizarre societal conventions, although such signatures are harder to notice in a period piece. But most definitely, like Lanthimos’s other films, The Favourite will stagger and engage continuously, offering viewers something to chew on for days at a time. The Word: An all-around excellent film, featuring four stellar performances. It’s challenging and yet effortlessly pleasurable. Coming To: Theaters

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Last modified: January 22, 2019