Movie Review – the Favourite

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, January 2nd, 2019 - 4 comments
Categories: movie review, The Standard - Tags:

If you’ve ever holidayed with lots of relatives and an elderly mother, you’ll really enjoy The Favourite. 

In such a house, bitterness and joy are mixed every day with half-baked plans, offhand remarks, half-resolved feuds, subtexts about who’s helping, poorly repressed judgements, and the slippery consequences of her fading capacity.

But be sure, before taking her to The Favourite, that she’s up for the pleasures of swearing, lesbian menage-a-trois politics, and cold climactic endings. A mistake I made for sure.

Queen Anne is on the English throne, where the power of Parliament is rising but she still has to make all the hard calls including raising taxes to fight war with France. Her key advisor is Lady Churchill who’s married to the head of the armed forces.

A new maid arrives who rises quickly in court and seeks to supplant Lady Churchill.

The Queen herself is the centre of this. Psychically damaged since all her children died and in chronic physical pain, she has had to rely increasingly on Lady Churchill, who is totally conflicted in her advice.

The dynamics between this raging, failing monarch will strike into the heart of anyone who’s been chronically ill and relied on helpers, anyone old and losing personal power while still being relied upon for too much, anyone observing and playing the subtle politics of family life, anyone who never dealt with mortal grief and is still haunted by it.

And indeed anyone in a holiday house with too many relatives too many expectations and a volume of gin (Cheers, sigh).

The script is stiletto-pointed in its mordant comedy, all the men immaterial amusements or feckless fools. 

But for those three women at its centre, this is an all-stakes-in  battle akin to Heathers, Dangerous Liaisons or a fully female King Lear.

4 comments on “Movie Review – the Favourite”

  1. Ah, there is one detail left out of this review.

    In NZ Cinemas now..

    (I had to look it up)

  2. I found this an interesting and engaging movie and don’t regret going. After it I googled some of the history i found there was no definite evidence of Lesbian relationships this being a rumour spread by Lady Churchill when she lost the Queens favour to Abigail. Dirty politics 18th century style! There is no mention of Prince George Annes husband who she was very close to who died in 1708, 6 years before Anne. To me it doesn’t seem right that such a key historical smear could be treated as fact in this movie
    To me it’s the same as if a movie on the life of David Cunliffe had the $100,000 bottle of wine donated by Lui as fact and a key part of the story. It could make for a great story but I don’t think revising history in this way is helpful.

  3. patricia bremner 3

    But entertainment yes>>> history no!!
    Thanks Advantage great addition.

  4. outofbed 4

    Hated it
    Not historically accurate, very long and ponderous.
    it was sold to me as comedic, t wasn’t
    Roma on the other hand, a masterpiece


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