This review of Oscar darling, THE FAVOURITE, is going to be short and sweet, because I really want to write a long review bashing one of the worst horror films I have ever seen in my life. Disclaimer: Period pieces such as this I have always found just being ‘okay’ and not really my cup of tea. I thought Pride & Prejudice was okay, I thought Marie Antoinette sucked, I thought the updated version of The Beguiled sucked, I thought The Duchess was okay, The Young Victoria was okay and so on and so forth. I just fail at connecting with them on any level. It’s not that they’re bad films at all, I can see why this one is getting a lot of Oscar buzz, but I just don’t see that praise within myself. I find myself…bored. And I was looking forward to this. When I saw the preview, it looked like a modern take on those kinds of movies, kind of like Marie Antoinette was. But Marie Antoinette really sucked, but we can blame hack job writer/director Sofia Coppola for that (she’s only made one great film, Lost In Translation, and the rest of her movies are borderline unwatchable). Thankfully, she had nothing to do with this one. The trailer also featured some laugh out loud moments and what appeared to be great performances from Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone. And when I saw the movie, I thought a couple of things were neat, I really loved the performances, but the rest of the movie was just, kind of meh. But that probably has to do with my expectations. When I hear a film is Oscar worthy, they go really high, and sometimes it is just too much of a feat for certain movies to overcome.
See, I thought this film was going to be like Rachel Weisz vs. Emma Stone, vying for their affections to the Queen, played by Olivia Coleman. I thought it was going to be more of a…I guess kind of a serious semi-parody on those kind of period piece films. Kind of hard to explain, but I don’t mean an out and out parody a la Airplane or Scary Movie, but something that pokes fun at the genre but also taking it seriously, a la Scream. It turns out it was and it wasn’t. The movie is around 2 hours long, and I think the Weisz vs. Stone stuff really doesn’t start until an hour in. And I thought it was just going to be the whole one person escalates the situation and then the other does something to try and get back at that person but just makes it worse and go on until it all escalates into one huge monster of an explosion type ordeal, something that only the best dark comedies get right. This is definitely more of a drama than it is a dark comedy, and that’s where I think it failed for me. I wanted it to embrace the dark comedy aspect and stick with it. And then the movie just kind of ends and I didn’t necessary like where everything ended up.
But I do understand the ending. The whole message of the movie is “what is winning and what is the cost of it?” Who truly wins in a debacle? And my wife Diane, who saw the movie and really should be giving you her review because I think she liked it a little more than I did, (she agrees with me it is only a one time watch) gave me her version of who won, etc, and she was right on the money. And it made me appreciate the ending a little better, I just don’t think I personally liked it, and imagined the movie going down a bleaker and over-the-top kind of path. If it is anything I agree with the movie in its Oscar Buzz, it is the acting. Olivia Colman has a great shot at winning the Best Actress Oscar, her Queen character is extraordinary obnoxious and you love to hate her, and Weisz and Stone for supporting. Especially Stone, she plays an awesomely wicked little brat. But the true MVP in this film, in my opinion, is Nicholas Hoult as Harley, a person in government trying to ultimately win the Queen’s ear in his politics. Whenever he was on screen, I laughed out loud quite a bit. In the end, I wish the whole movie was about his character and his point of view. If they had him a little more in the film, I could’ve seen a supporting actor nod all the way. If there is one reason to just watch this film once, it is him all the way. (If you don’t know who Nicholas Hoult is, he is the younger Beast in the X-Men movies, that crazy lovely day dude in Mad Max Fury Road, and the lead in Warm Bodies…he also used to fuck Jennifer Lawrence.)
Anyways, this is the third major American released film by Yorgos Lanthimos. I didn’t care for The Lobster all that much, and I basically hated The Killing of a Sacred Deer. This is definitely his best film of the three and I have a feeling he is going to make something some day that I love (also just found out that he didn’t write this one, like he did the other two, and that’s probably a contributing factor). I did like some of his stylistic choices in this film, such as a fish eye lens in some scenes, and the whole film was shot like a camera was at someone’s waist pointing up the whole time, but on the whole I think I was asking too much from the film to satisfy my entertainment fix. It didn’t reach the value I had set for it. I was entertained at times (it had a good sexual joke or two as well), but I was also very bored through long stretches of the film. I wanted more dark comedy, I wanted more Weisz Vs. Stone scenarios, I wanted a more grand ending. These were just my wants, and it didn’t deliver, but only on my level. If you like period pieces, you will probably love this film. It is Oscar worthy completely in some aspects, but when it comes to me personally, I’m glad that I saw it once, but it will never be one I watch over and over again; it will never be one of my favorites.