The Favourite

December 13, 2018

Review, Theatrical, This Week 4 Comments

…like a failed attempt to make a Peter Greenaway film, though without any of his imagination or instinctual flair.

The Favourite

Mark Demetrius
Year: 2018
Rating: MA
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz

Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Released: December 26, 2018
Running Time: 118 minutes
Worth: $12.00

FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

…like a failed attempt to make a Peter Greenaway film, though without any of his imagination or instinctual flair.

Set in the early 18th century during the very brief reign of Queen Anne, and partly filmed at Hampton Court Palace, this might sound like a light, elegant and nostalgically escapist film. In fact, it’s often crude and jarring, decidedly peculiar and sometimes very dark.

Unfortunately, none of this makes it particularly good, and a surfeit of distracting gimmicks such as fish-eye lens cinematography and gratuitous soundtrack noises stop it from being immersive or engrossing.

The story unfolds at a time when England is at war with France, and various court attendees are competing and intriguing over how and indeed whether to prosecute that war. These machinations are, however, peripheral to the guts of the matter, which is an eternal triangle. The three ‘sides’ of it are the frail queen herself (Olivia Colman), her friend Lady Sarah Churchill the Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz) and the newly arrived would-be servant/maid Abigail (Emma Stone). Abigail is of upper-class background herself, but has fallen on hard times. She does, however, share with the other two protagonists the quality – if that’s the word for it – of not being a remotely likeable or sympathetic character. This, of course, serves to prevent us from caring about their fates, or about the movie in general. The fact that the occasional attempts at humour (slapstick and otherwise) are not funny doesn’t help either.

The Favourite is like a failed attempt to make a Peter Greenaway film, though without any of his imagination or instinctual flair. Director Yorgos Lanthimos is something of an auteur too when he’s on form, but this time he isn’t.


  1. Brian

    Couldn’t agree with any sentence in Mark’s review. I think that this is the Movie of the Year (2nd to First Man which will, unfortunately, be ignored at awards ceremonies) Hopefully, The Favourite will do well. Ito review this film without, at least, giving kudos to the 3 actresses is criminal. Sure, none of their characters are likeable but each lady gives her all. Olivia for the Best Actress Oscar. Don’t let this review discourage you from seeing the gem.

  2. Aaron

    I hadn’t stumbled upon Filmink, and it’s boring patriarchal anti-intellect for some time. Having read this dreadful review, I’ll make a mental note to make sure it’s quite a few more years before I come back.

    1. Author
      Dov Kornits

      Hey dude, at least we know how to spell good most of the time. Have a nice day.

  3. Gail G

    I completely agreed. This film bored me to tears. I actually felt angry when I was leaving, about all of the hype. It was like the Emma’s Stone movie. So many close ups of Sone and Weisz. Emm Stone was completely miscast. She can’t get away from being an American millennial. And enough vomit to make you vomit.

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