John Gillispie: ‘The Favourite’ features acting performances

January 31, 2019

Movies & More reviewer John Gillispie shares his thoughts on “The Favourite,” which is rated R and is nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Director.

Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and her cousin, Abigail (Emma Stone), vie for the attention of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and the power that accompanies her attention in “The Favourite.”

All three actresses have received Academy Award nominations for this film, with Colman in the actress in a leading role category and Weisz and Stone in the actress in a supporting role category. “The Favourite” is tied with “Roma” for the most Academy Awards nominations in this year’s Oscar race. The Academy Awards will be presented on Feb. 24 on ABC.

Sometimes, I enjoy a movie for the acting performances and I feel that “The Favourite” falls into that category for me. Some of the antics committed by Lady Sarah and Abigail in the film are amusing and others are dangerous. However, I didn’t always feel that each character’s motivations were entirely clear. Surely, personal security and the power of having the Queen’s ear must have been factors. Were we supposed to believe that one cousin simply wants to outmaneuver the other or that power can change a person? Maybe it’s a combination of all these factors?

The costumes and sets of “The Favourite” are impressive, but the movie’s R rating may surprise some people. The movie offers some humor in a manner that I would describe as more amusing than laugh-inducing.

I found Colman’s performance especially poignant when Queen Anne speaks about the loss of all 17 of her children. She keeps 17 rabbits in her living quarters in memory of her children.

Stone is impressive in her role as we see her rise dramatically in the Queen’s household. Weisz portrays an incredibly strong character and has the benefit of having a long history with Queen Anne.

While I am not disappointed that I saw “The Favourite,” I didn’t care for the way the film ended. Even though I felt I understood what was being conveyed at the conclusion of the film, I still wanted a little more clarity about the motivation of the characters played by Stone and Weisz.

John Gillispie is the public relations director for the Huntington Museum of Art.

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