Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite‘s director, is someone I’ve admired since Dogtooth (2009). He’s Greek and his films seem to have a weird, yet truthful, sensibility. So even though I’d say I’m not cynical about period films, I had special expectations for this anyway.
And it pays off. The film basically opens on a slo-mo duck race, which sets a certain tone! Then the story, mainly about Lady Sarah (a really cool Rachael Weisz) fighting for influence over Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne (probably the standout character) with Emma Stone’s Abigail (doing a great British accent), likewise doesn’t necessarily go how you might expect. It’s because even though there’s a lot of compelling drama, all I’ll say is look back to the slo-mo duck race to see what to expect! (The lensing’s really cool.)
So all in all, we’re a few months into Oscar season, but if all Oscar films were like this, you might not be able to accuse them of being predictable 😉.