Too Clever For It's Own Good
- The Favourite review by JK
Watching this film is a bit like watching Russell Brand - very smarty-pants clever but deeply distasteful. It ticks all the boxes in terms of sublime setting, lighting, costumes, make up etc. etc. but then you would hope so given how much it cost to make. Every shot is perfectly framed. Every frame could be a Rembrandt or Vermeer painting.
The three women are all brilliant but not necessarily Oscar worthy. If you had absolutely nothing to do all day and were in constant pain you'd be snappy and contrary.
It demonstrated Court corruption and the ridiculousness of political debate really well but aside from a few smile-provoking quips it was hardly the 'comedy' it was cracked up to be in the run up to its release and subsequent hoo-ha about it's ten Oscar nominations. All the funny bits are in the trailer.
On another level it is terribly sad and the sheer tedium of Court life would drive anyone to murderous thoughts but it just leaves a bad taste in the mouth. And speaking of mouths - how come the incredibly realistic bodily functions, blood, gore, fat etc. were depicted perfectly for the period but everyone had brilliantly white teeth, given that they all appeared to live on cake?
It's a 'Marmite' movie - either you will love or hate it.....that's why I've given it an average star score. 'Just can't make up my mind.
16 out of 21 members found this review helpful.
Historically inaccurate, over-rated, box-ticking, 'politically correct' feminist fantasy drama
- The Favourite review by PV
I found the first hour of this film excruciatingly boring - I was watching the clock a lot. Then around the 1 hour mark, things pick up with the rivalry between the 2 'favourites'. From then on it's watchable.
Sarah Churchill who became Lady Marlborough (Queen Anne gave the lordship to her husband for his military and political duties, and Winston Churchill is from that line) DID in history fall out with the monarch and thus portrayed Anne badly in her memoirs. The falling out, however, was political and about money, NOT lesbian affairs of competition with other favourites. That is all pure fiction. It's MADE UP, folks!
But hey, make a movie about some old British monarch, give it a women-focused feminist slant, add a good dollop of lesbianism, and then add some illness/disability (miscarriages, gout, early 18th C wheelchairs) and you are guaranteed Oscar nominations. Queen Anne did have gout and get carried round in sedan chairs and in a wheelchair because it made her lame - she became very obese and depressive because of it too. That is fact.
BUT this film is not a patch on THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE (set 50-70 years later) or the brilliant THE KING'S SPEECH.
THE FAVOURITE is, in fact, rather a forgettable movie AND mostly fiction, which reflects our pc feminist #metoo age, not the historical reality of 300 years ago.
For the record, Queen Anne gave birth to 12 babies, 5 lived, most died under 2 years of age BUT one - William - lived till 11. The other 5 were miscarriages (half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage actually, most not even noticed).
There is NO historical record of any lesbian affair with a favourite or any poisoning or any rabbits or the rest - this is all from the imagination of the (female) author, no doubt keen to put women and women's concerns centre-stage in her script (which took 20 years to be filmed - it's now 'on trend' as is so female-focused, of course).
Yes, gambling was growing popular at the time. Yes, Queen Anne's 5 year reign was important because under her Great Britain was formed as a solely Protestant Christian nation which excluded Catholics (like Anne's deposed Papist father King James II - her sister was Mary, married to William of Orange, who ruled as WILLIAM AND MARY from the 1688 Glorious Revolution) and modern Tory-Whig politics developed. THAT is what is important - and maybe the furniture. Not fantasy lesbian romantic subplots.
And people did NOT use the word 'smart' to mean 'clever' in the early 18th century either. That is annoying. The language AND the female characters in this film are WAY too modern - it's like 'girl power' and post-1990s aggressive feminist women. They would NOT have behaved like that in the 18th century - or even 50 years ago! As per usual, the women are just TOO modern in looks and attitudes. And thus, not really believable as characters.
Thankfully, the diversity police have not riddled the cast with black actors, making it all unrealistic, though the number of black servants is overplayed and the sole black noblewoman I glimpsed is an absurdity - she would simply not have been there. It's a shame people who watch this will think they are watching documentary history. They are not, They are watching a Mills and Boon, feminist, made-up version of history to suit the 'politically correct' prejudices of our age.
To watch a brilliant movie set just before this in history, watch THE LION IN WINTER all about the development of the English Civil War and Charles I.
Worthy of Oscars? No. Except for costume design.
The music and credit design at the end is dreadful.
2.5 stars rounded up.
7 out of 17 members found this review helpful.
Paper thin superficial plot but very modern
- The Favourite review by RD
Can't understand why this won so many awards.
The cinematography is poor, with soft focus and an over-use of extreme wide angle lenses than make everything curved and distorted. The shooting in low light gave the interior shots a natural balance, but unfortunately the daylight through windows produced so much flare they obliterated anything nearby in the shot.
The sound is good although there's not much use of the surround channels, and the music is painfully odd often with the same note squeaked out every few seconds, repetitively ad nauseam. It didn't add to any on-screen action.
The settings were fabulous, Hampton Court and Hatfield House looked magnificent, and the interior furnishings likewise. The acting also was good all round.
The real weak point was the screenplay. Very 21st century and streetwise, complete with break dancing (20th century) and some daft scenes that just appear to pad out the film and give some blood cells to the anaemic story.
The story? Whacky queen has ambitious and bossy aide, another aide appears and wins queens favour. Jealousy consumes aide number one. Film ends.
And - the film ends without any apparent resolution or development, it just looked like they ran out of money at that point, so they decided to suddenly knock it all on the head and get on with the post-production.
Prizes should be awarded to anyone who can read the credits. They have been designed by an intern in his school holidays, all geometric with capital letters everywhere so the spacing is extreme, resembling the alphabet available in the search function for the BBC iPlayer. Completely unreadable without going cross-eyed. Can you can make up other words diagonally if you pause the titles?
Maybe we have been spoilt - we watched Barry Lyndon a few weeks ago and perhaps it's raised our standards too high.
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.