Filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos has firmly established himself as a convention-defying auteur at this point. Look no further to the genre-upending The Lobster to see Lanthimos’ engrossing style reveling in its dystopian vision of the future as much as its very successful to put a romantic comedy within in said vision.
When it comes to films set in England in centuries past, they’re usually some maudlin Merchant Ivory romance. The idea of doing a dissection of nobility, power, and the existential nature of it all and making it all darkly funny seems a little farfetched to say the least.
Yet, Lanthimos and writers Tony McNamara and Deborah Davis accomplish just that by weaving a forbidden love triangle and a struggle for status in 18th century England with The Favourite. The backdrop of the nobility wasting their time with pomp, circumstance, and racing animals versus their debate of whether England should stay at war with France ratchets up a certain modern-feeling absurdity throughout. The perfectly measured performances of Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone really complete Lanthimos’ lavish and ambitious vision of The Favourite.
Truly, as we suggested above, you might not see a funnier English period piece set within the Queen’s court. The Favourite is still playing at a theater near you.