What a hoot! The historical bio-pic is given an eccentric and irreverent treatment in The Favourite. Set in the court of Queen Anne (i.e. 1702-1714) , it tells of the power struggle and changing dynamics between three female protagonists: Sarah Churchill the Duchess of Marlborough, Abigail Masham and Queen Anne herself. To be honest, I knew nothing about Queen Anne (except the furniture) and in this film she is ’embodied’ in the same way that the many depictions have ’embodied’ Henry VIII. It is often filmed through a warping fish-eye perspective, and the music is scratchy and discordant. The humour, language and costumes are deliberately anachronistic. Olivia Colman is absolutely brilliant, with her face conveying myriad emotions, often within the one shot. I’m not absolutely convinced about the lesbianism – female friendships are notoriously hard to read, especially at a distance of 350 years – and I’m not sure about all these murder attempts. But, it seems that the basic facts of the story are accurate but fooled around with, very prettily and archly, for a 21st century audience.
My rating: 4/5