The Favourite [2018] ★★★½

He’s done it again. Filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos follows up “Dogtooth”, “The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” with a period piece that has his name written all over it. It’s a deliciously wicked film, beautifully shot and perfectly acted by Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Olivia Coleman (no wonder they’re all nominated for an Oscar). I can’t remember the last time a period piece offered something new, but that’s what makes “The Favourite” so good. What made it even better for me is the fact that I came to it as a blank state (believe it or not I didn’t even watch the trailer), and it gave me much food for thought. We’re in 18th century England and Queen Anne (Coleman) rules despite her illness. Her legs are no good, her memory is slipping, and she keeps 17 bunnies running around her chamber. It’s also a time of war. Her Royal Highness can’t handle all that, so she leaves all the nasty business to Lady Sarah Churchill (Weisz), who knows exactly how to keep her satisfied. But the time of peace inside the palace is about to end when Emma Stone’s Abigail Hill arrives one day and quickly wins the Queen over. Jealousy? Boredom? Cruelty? It’s all on the menu. And what better director to carry it through? Lanthimos and his pitch perfect cast have created a period piece like no other. And much like his previous films, there are no easy answers here. But one thing’s for sure: his purpose is to shock and provoke his audience. Safe to say, he succeeds with flying colors. “The Favourite” is one of the best movies of 2018.

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