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Movie review: No ‘Favourite’

Published February 13. 2019 01:06PM

“The Favourite” regales us with a tale of ribaldry, debauchery and tragedy amid lush interiors and exteriors with protagonists in fabulous costumes, makeup and wigs.

“The Favourite,” a satire of manners, is mannered in performance and style. The story is about Queen Anne (1665-1714), who ruled England from 1702-1714.

Director Yorgos Lanthimos (Oscar nominee, screenplay, “The Lobster,” 2015; “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” 2017) seems smugly bent on obfuscation. With “The Favourite,” he again succeeds. The fanciful script by Deborah Davis (theatrical motion picture screenplay debut) is a real pigeon-shoot, making sport of real-life personages. What saves “The Favourite” are exceptional performances.

Olivia Colman (TV’s “The Crown,” 2019) plays Anne, Queen of Great Britain, as a lonely, pathetic, looney, quixotic figurehead.

Rachel Weisz (Oscar recipient, supporting actress, “The Constant Gardener,” 2005) plays Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, as an impudent, manipulative, cunning exploiter of the queen’s weaknesses.

Emma Stone (Oscar recipient, actress, “La La Land,” 2016; Oscar nominee, supporting actress, “Birdman,” 2014) plays Abigail Masham with solemn grace, vivid subterfuge, opportunistic resignation and deceptive charm.

“The Favourite” is worth seeing if you want to see what the Oscar hooplah is all about. Having seen “The Favourite,” I’m still wondering what the Oscar hooplah is all about.

“The Favourite,” MPAA Rated R (Restricted Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.) for strong sexual content, nudity and language; Genre: Biography, Drama, Comedy; Run time: 1 hr., 59 min.; Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous: “The Favourite” was filmed on location at Hatfield House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom.

Box Office, Feb. 8-9: “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” put it all together to open at No. 1 with $34.4 million, one week, as “What Men Want” opened at No. 2 with $19 million, and “Cold Pursuit” opened at No. 3 with $10.8 million.

4. “The Upside” moved down two places, $7.2 million, $85.8 million, five weeks. 5. “Glass” moved down four places, $6.4 million, $98.4 million, four weeks. 6. “The Prodigy,” $6 million, opening. 7. “Green Book,” with five Oscar nominations, moved down one place, $3.6 million, $61.5 million, 13 weeks. 8. “Aquaman” moved down four places, $3.3 million, $328.5 million, eight weeks. 9. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” an animated feature Oscar nominee, moved down four places, $3 million, $179.8 million, nine weeks. 10. “Miss Bala” moved down seven places, $2.7 million, $11.8 million, two weeks.

Unreel, Feb. 15:

“Happy Death Day 2U,” PG-13: Christopher Landon directs Jessica Rothe, Ruby Modine, Israel Broussard and Suraj Sharma in the horror film. Dying over and over is never easy. It’s the “Groundhog Day” of horror films.

“Alita: Battle Angel,” PG-13: Robert Rodriguez directs Eiza González, Rosa Salazar, Mahershala Ali and Jennifer Connelly in the sci-fi action film based on a James Cameron screenplay that Cameron had wanted to direct since 1995. The CGI enhanced female superhero with the big eyes is based on the first four “Battle Angel Alita” manga comic books by Yukito Kishiro.

“Fighting with My Family,” PG-13: Stephen Merchant directs Dwayne Johnson, a Freedom High School graduate, and Florence Pugh, Lena Headey and Saraya-Jade Bevis in the Comedy. A wrestler performs at small venues while his children want to wrestle in World Wrestling Entertainment shows. The film is based on a true story.

“Isn’t It Romantic,” PG-13: Todd Strauss-Schulson directs Rebel Wilson, Priyanka Chopra, Tom Ellis, Liam Hemsworth and Betty Gilpin in the fantasy comedy. A young woman is trapped in a romantic comedy. It’s the “Groundhog Day” of romantic-comedies.

Two popcorn boxes out of five popcorn boxes.

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