Starring: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, Mark Gatiss
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Historical bio-drama directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. The Favourite is set in early 18th century England, which is is at war with the French. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When Sarah’s cousin, Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfil her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.
Our Favorite Quote:
Lady Sarah: [referring to the miniature palace] You do not lisp, but you are mad. Giving me a palace.
Queen Anne: Well, I’ve been wanting to give you something for quite some time now. Seemed like the perfect opportunity with Marlborough winning.
Lady Sarah: It is a monstrous extravagance, Mrs. Morley. We are at war.
Queen Anne: We won.
Lady Sarah: Oh, it is not over. We must continue.
Queen Anne: Oh. Oh, I did not know that.
Abigail: I apologize for my appearance. The staff led me here. A harmless prank of some sort, I suspect.
Lady Sarah: And you want…?
Abigail: I hoped I might be employed here by you as something.
Lady Sarah: A monster for the children to play with, perhaps?
Abigail: Yes, if you like.
Queen Anne: I’m ready for the Russian ambassador.
Lady Sarah: Who did your makeup?
Queen Anne: We went for something dramatic. Do you like it?
Lady Sarah: You look like a badger.
Queen Anne: Oh.
Lady Sarah: Are you going to cry? Really? Well, what do you think you look like?
Queen Anne: [looking into the mirror] A badger.
Queen Anne: [to one of her servants] Did you just look at me? Did you? Look at me! Look at me!
Queen Anne: [the servant looks at her] How dare you! Close your eyes!
Harley: Might I remind you you’re not the queen?
Lady Sarah: No, she has sent me to speak for her. She is unwell.
Godolphin: What says she?
Lady Sarah: That Harley is a fop and a prat and smells like a ninety-six year-old French whore’s vajuju.
Harley: Oh. Well, I really doubt you’re quoting.
Harley: I would like an audience with the queen where I may state my case.
Lady Sarah: State it to me. I love a comedy. Is there cake?
Harley: This is a disgusting distortion of the system. You have no place in this.
Lady Sarah: Your mascara is running. If you’d like to go fix yourself, we can continue this later.
Godolphin: [referring to her treatment of Harley] Must you rub it in? A man’s dignity is the one thing that holds him back from running amok.
Lady Sarah: Sometimes a lady likes to have some fun.
Lady Sarah: [to Abigail] Let’s shoot something.
Abigail: You fought hard for this war and your husband is at the front of it. His life is at risk. How can you do that?
Lady Sarah: It is right. If we don’t do it, they will gather force and be over here cutting us all into chops within the year. You are of a sweet disposition and have suffered blows, so desire safety and favor above all else.
Abigail: If he dies?
Lady Sarah: Did you not sacrifice your c**t to a fatty German to save your father?
Lady Sarah: There’s always a price to pay. I am prepared to pay it.
Masham: Are you following me? I said, are you following me?
Abigail: You seem to be following me, sir, as I am in front of you.
Masham: [run towars her and stands in front of her] That was you I saw on the horse that morning.
Abigail: I am a servant. Where would I get a horse? Perhaps you dreamt of me?
Masham: Perhaps it was you, and I should have you stripped and whipped.
Abigail: I’m waiting.
Lady Sarah: [as Harley is trying to talk to Anne about the tax and the war] Oh, Harley, you are such a bore. That is for parliament. A ball is for dancing and eating those horseradish and venison puffs. Have you tried them?
Harley: I’m having trouble swallowing at the moment. Your Majesty…
Queen Anne: I’d like to enjoy the music now.
Lady Sarah: Oh, yes. I love this music. I must dance.
Abigail: Lady Marlborough has been good to me. She saved me. I will not breach her confidence.
Harley: Of course, you are in favor. But favor is a breeze that shifts direction all the time. Then in an instant, you’re back sleeping with a bunch of scabrous whores wondering whose finger’s in your a**. You cannot have too many friends in court. I need a friend, Abigail. One with cute ears and wide eyes. I’m often blindsided by the distorted situation at court. As leader of the opposition, I should not be. I would merely like to know of any plans Her Ladyship, Godolphin, or the queen may have.
Abigail: I will not betray my mistress’s trust.
Harley: Oh, look. A wren. How cute.
[he pushes her off the ledge]
Harley: You alright? Anyway, think on it. There’s no pressure.
Lady Sarah: [referring to the hot chocolate] None for the queen.
Queen Anne: What?
Lady Sarah: Well, you cannot have hot chocolate. Your stomach, the sugar inflames it.
Queen Anne: Abigail, hand me that cup.
Lady Sarah: Do not.
Abigail: I’m sorry, I do not know what to do.
Lady Sarah: Oh, fine, give it to her. Then you can get a bucket and a mop for the aftermath.
Lady Sarah: [she shoots towards Abigail] If you forget to load the pellet, the gun fires, makes the sound, but releases no shot. It is a great jape. Do you agree?
Lady Sarah: Maybe we will think of a use for it one day. Sometimes, it is hard to remember whether you have loaded the pellet or not. I do fear confusion and accidents.
Abigail: I’m sure people will be careful.
Lady Sarah: Mrs. Meg, your cream bill is outrageous. Are you bathing in it to help your hemorrhoids?
Mrs. Meg: No, Your Ladyship.
Abigail: [Masham enters her room] What an outfit.
Masham: Thank you. I thought it might be too much.
Abigail: Have you come to seduce me or rape me?
Masham: I am a gentleman.
Abigail: So rape, then.
Masham: No. No, you are… You have intrigued me.
Abigail: And you, me.
Lady Sarah: Anne, you are too sensitive.
Queen Anne: And you are too mean and uncaring, some days.
Lady Sarah: Some days, I’m quite lovely though. Let’s think on them.
[Anne sulks and rides on ahead]
Lady Sarah: Anne. You’re such a child.
Abigail: You’re so beautiful.
Queen Anne: Stop it. You mock me.
Abigail: I do not. If I were a man, I would ravish you. Ravish you.
Queen Anne: Enough.
Abigail: I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
Lady Sarah: The queen is an extraordinary person, even if it’s not readily apparent. She has been stalked by tragedy.
Abigail: She seems quite lovely.
Queen Anne: I have sent for some lobsters. I thought we could race them and then eat them.
Queen Anne: [after her fall in court] I looked like a fool. They were all staring, weren’t they? I can tell even if I can’t see, and I heard the word fat.
Lady Sarah: And..
Queen Anne: And ugly.
Lady Sarah: Anne, no one but me would dare, and I did not.
Lady Sarah: I think you are a pretty little liar that I have misjudged.
Abigail: I did not mean for this to happen. The queen, she’s forceful.
Lady Sarah: You are dismissed from my service. Go back to Mrs. Meg and tell her to find you a position in the scullery. And if she asks why, tell her, “Because I am a disloyal little b**ch.”
Abigail: Yes, Your Ladyship. It has been an honor and privilege…
Lady Sarah: If you do not go, I will start kicking you, and I will not stop.
Lady Sarah: You have become close to Abigail.
Queen Anne: She’s been a dear, yes.
Lady Sarah: It is such a shame, but I’ve had to dismiss her for theft. She’s a liar and a thief. Your tongue seems uncharacteristically still.
Queen Anne: I heard you. She’s my servant, she’s not dismissed. I’ve made her my maid of the bedchamber.
Lady Sarah: Did you not hear what I said?
Queen Anne: Yes, you regard her as a liar and a thief.
Lady Sarah: Yes.
Queen Anne: I do not, obviously.
Lady Sarah: You will dismiss her.
Queen Anne: I don’t want to. I like it when she puts her tongue inside me.
Lady Sarah: You are enjoying all of this, aren’t you?
Queen Anne: To be beloved? Of course. To see you trying to win me. Why, what is not to love, my dear?
Lady Sarah: You will stop this ridiculous infatuation. You have made your point.
Queen Anne: Perhaps I was not making a point.
[she kisses Sarah]
Abigail: I must take control of my circumstance. I will need to act in a way that meets with the edges of my morality. And when I end up on the street selling my a**hole to syphilitic soldiers, steadfast morality will be a f***ing nonsense that will mock me daily.
Masham: I’m not quite following.
Abigail: Shh. I apologize. But do “shh” when I’m thinking.
Abigail: [as she’s brushing Anne’s hair] Your hair is so lustrous. It’s something people in court comment on.
Queen Anne: Really?
Queen Anne: I always thought of it as rather nest-like.
Abigail: Not at all.
Lady Sarah: [Sarah wakes up in a brothel] Where am I?
Mae: You’re in heaven.
[referring to the man in the room]
Mae: That’s God. You’ll meet him later.
Queen Anne: [referring to Sarah] She saved me my whole life. Without her, I’m nothing.
Abigail: That is not true. You are the queen.
Queen Anne: I’m tired. It hurts. Everything hurts. Everyone leaves me, and dies. Finally her. If she’s not dead, I will cut her throat. She may be doing this to hurt me, make me dissolve and dissemble. I will not.
Abigail: She will be fine. They will find her.
Queen Anne: I don’t care. You are a beautiful person. You glow with loveliness.
Queen Anne: Oh, it is fun to be queen sometimes.
Abigail: [referring to Sarah] Now that she is gone, I find myself more concerned than when she was here. For it is like she could strike from anywhere at any time, and I will not see it coming. I must be calm. She’s gone. I’m married. But I must be ready. And yet, how to be ready when I do not know where my enemy is? My life is like a maze I continually think I have gotten out of, only to find another corner right in front of me.
Abigail: Lady Marlborough.
Lady Sarah: Oh, dear. The servant is dressed in the clothes of a lady. How whimsical.
Abigail: My dear friend and cousin, how good to see you’ve returned from…
Lady Sarah: Hell. I’m sure you shall pass through it one day.
Abigail: You’ve missed a few things. My marriage. It was a simple affair, but beautifully done.
Lady Sarah: If you offer me tea, you will forgive me if I don’t accept.
Abigail: I have searched my heart, and I did not have trust in it, and that is my shame. I could not just stand by and let you destroy me. You have perhaps taught me that. But it’s over now. I have won. I am safe. We do not have to fight anymore. Is that not grand? If you just forgive me, we can be happy together.
[suddenly Sarah slaps Abigail twice across the face]
Abigail: Obviously, you still have some anger to expiate. I’ll allow it this once.
Lady Sarah: Congratulations on your wedded bliss.
Queen Anne: Your face.
Lady Sarah: Do I look that bad? If I were a man, it’d be quite dashing, a scar like this.
Queen Anne: Where have you been, Sarah? Why did you leave like that?
Lady Sarah: I went riding. Some bandits attacked me. It took me a while to fight them off.
Queen Anne: Oh, your poor face.
Lady Sarah: You should see them.
Lady Sarah: Look at me. I will say this once and plainly, my dearest one. You must send Abigail away. From my heart, Mrs. Morley, do it.
Queen Anne: I do not want to.
Lady Sarah: She is a viper.
Queen Anne: You’re jealous.
Lady Sarah: You will do as I say.
Queen Anne: I am the queen. Do not try to do that thing you do.
Lady Sarah: Do not try to manage this, as you cannot. I know that Harley has been in your ear and Abigail in your bed.
Queen Anne: Enough! You will be as I wish you to be from now on. Do you understand?
Lady Sarah: Anne.
Queen Anne: [as Sarah climbs on the bed and leans towards her] Don’t. No, don’t. No, your face frightens me. Don’t!
Queen Anne: [pushes Sarah off the bed] Good night, Lady Marlborough.
Lady Sarah: I burned the letters. I burned them. Oh, do what you will. But I will not come back. Do you understand? I will go and be gone. Abigail has done this. She does not love you.
Queen Anne: Because how could anyone? She wants nothing from me, unlike you.
Lady Sarah: She wants nothing from you, and yet somehow she is a lady, with two thousand a year, and Harley sits on your knee most nights.
Queen Anne: I wish you could love me as she does.
Lady Sarah: You wish me to lie to you? “Oh, you look like an angel fell from heaven, Your Majesty.” No. Sometimes, you look like a badger. And you can rely on me to tell you.
Queen Anne: Why?
Lady Sarah: Because I will not lie! That is love!
Queen Anne: [pauses] I have my duties to attend to.
Godolphin: Obviously, you have chosen to keep the particulars of your dismissal from me. I shall leave a gap in the conversation for you to remedy that.
Godolphin: [pauses and looks away awkwardly] I do not know of women and their feelings, but I know they nurse their hurts like wailing newborns.
Lady Sarah: Godolphin, I feel a surge of desire to see your nose broken. Your point?
Godolphin: Your Majesty, may I broach the matter of Lady Marlborough?
Queen Anne: No, you may not.
Godolphin: A breach in a dear friendship. Surely this could be healed.
Queen Anne: Some wounds do not close. I have many such. One just walks around with them, and sometimes one can feel them filling with blood.
Godolphin: [referring to Anne] A letter, an apology of some sort that facilitates your return.
Lady Sarah: There are limits to what one can give.
Godolphin: [referring to Sarah] Perhaps she could write you, and we could attempt to repair at least one wound in our queen?
Queen Anne: I cannot stop her. I imagine it’d be pointless, and I would dash the letter into the fire, but I cannot stop her.
Abigail: [as Anne is crawling on the floor towards a chair] Let’s get you in a chair.
Queen Anne: How dare you touch the queen like that!
Abigail: I’m sorry.
Queen Anne: I did not ask you to speak. Rub my leg.
Abigail: [begins to rub Anne’s leg] You should lie down.
Queen Anne: You shall speak when asked to. I feel dizzy. I need to hold on to something.
[she grabs hold of Abigail’s hair and Abigail continues to rub her leg]