The Favourite is a powdered-wig flick like the classic Barry Lyndon so it’s fair to to use that film as the wig with which to compare all powdered-wig films, such as Dangerous Liaisons and The Madness of King George.
You can tell right away this is a very English-accent movie because of the spelling of the title and the presence of a Queen. When I saw Emma Stone in the credits, I was sold on wanting to see this as a speculative proposition, to see if Ms. Stone’s British accent would hold up. I think it’s OK, but I do not have a United Kingdom ear. It’s a point of National Actorly Pride, almost, all these Australian and British and Irish actors come over here and make American movies and television and sometimes you have no idea they’re UK-ish until you see them in some clip talking about their project. He’s not in this movie, but the guy who was in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, for instance, was also a main character in a series on Showtime called Bloodline (which I highly recommend but only for the first season), and I never would have realized he was not Florida Man until I saw him talking about Star Wars in his native accent. Acting!
Again, POWDERED WIG movie, courtiers, palace intrigue, everyone all pent-up and turgid with their various agendas, be they carnal or political, lots of significant furtive looks. You may need to be on board for the genre, and if you are, I give this a strong recommend. It doesn’t have the brutal snap of Barry Lyndon, but it’s nowhere near as enervating, even though it is a little too long at around two hours.
Olivia Colman should get some actor-prizes for playing the erratic Queen Anne, a doddering, melancholy, and terrifying absolute ruler who seems to be perfectly OK acting on the last piece of advice she heard. Rachel Weisz, as the Queen’s ruthless handler, should also get a prize. Emma Stone is fine as a fallen but resourceful woman, a victim of class-based society fighting for a place, but she’s punching way above her accent here. The exact tone that takes her out of her depth is exactly where Colman and Weisz destroy.
The camera work features lots of extreeeeeme widescreen shots, which suck in all the insanely opulent details in and around the Queen’s castle, and if you don’t already, this movie will make you hate mega-rich people, ensconced in their stratified society while they’re making decisions that cost lives and create suffering while they’re living it up and yelling at the help to keep working. We’re lucky to live in modern times!