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Westside Steve

The Favourite reviewer

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The Favourite
Fox Searchlight
R.                       121 min

Okay first the good. I always enjoy a trip to the Chagrin Cinema. Chagrin Falls is a very nice little town at the theater itself is a cool structure with comfortable seating, and much easier to get to than the Cedar Lee, and it’s owned by Cleveland Cinemas, so it often has films that are somewhat hard to find.  
Now the bad. THE FAVOURITE, which is the reason for the journey itself, turned out to be the most unpleasant 2 hours as I’ve spent in a good many years. Every year the critics fall all over themselves in praise of some British costume drama that might seem a bit slow or burdened with dated production values but at least the English flicks often seem very elegant. Not this one. 
To pass the hours I spent a great deal of the time trying to understand the purpose behind this one. I’m guessing maybe somebody has a family grudge against Queen Anne (Olivia Colman)? I know she ascended the throne after the death of King Billy the scourge of the Irish and I understand that we harps take the stuff probably a little too seriously. What we have isa series of vignettes centered on a new servant, Abigail (Emma Stone) in Kensington Palace, and her ambitions to replace the Queen’s right hand Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz). Queen Anne is depicted here as something of a half-wit, crippled by the gout and without much interest at all in governing Great Britain during its seemingly never ending war with France. By the way she’s nuts as well as infirm catering to a brood of rabbits in her quarters who represent, at least in her mind, the children she has lost over the years. All the while wig wearing dandies vie for the attentions of the servants knowing that it’s within their power to sway the Queen’s opinions on matters of War, taxes Etc. 
You’re probably wondering why the film was so unpleasant? Well it’s not necessarily because of the skullduggery and ill intentions of everyone involved, which is admittedly off-putting, but the vulgar depictions of those people,  the random acts of sex, as well as those performed on the queen herself by her servants. And just to make things more unpleasant there were 3 or 4 separate scenes involving vomit interspersed with  the daily  revelry  including duck races  and throwing fruit  at a naked fool. To be honest the gray sex might not have been so distasteful had we not been aware of the hygiene practices in the early 1700s. Best not to think about that. 
 I can imagine that type of debauchery was commonplace especially among the aristocrats and royalty who seem to have unlimited power and money and unlimited leisure time to try to fill without television social media or porn. Luckily today we have all three so there’s no reason to live like the people in this film. Or to sit through it.
D –
WSS


 

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