Blu-ray: The Favourite

STUDIO: Fox | DIRECTOR: Yorgos Lanthimos | CAST: Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Olivia Colman, Nicolas Hoult
RELEASE DATE: March 5, 2019 | PRICE: DVD $14.96, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $19.96
BONUSES: featurette, deleted scenes, more
SPECS: R | 119 min. | Period drama comedy | 1.85:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The Favourite, the latest from Greece’s Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, Dogtooth, Alps), has broken out the idiosyncratic auteur from the cult movie mode and into international spotlight.  But The Favorite also shows Lanthimos is not likely to take on a superhero project or mainstream rom-com anytime soon. And for the world of adventurous moviegoers, that’s a good thing.

Based on facts, this mysterious, kooky and sometimes altogether ooky film is set in the early 18th century when Queen Anne (Olivia Colman, The Iron Lady) resides over the British court. But does very little governing, and that’s because she’s a mental and physical wreck—perhaps out-of-whack because of the deaths of 17 children during childbirth, who are memorialized with live rabbits hopping around the royal palace.

Too consumed with her own demons to pay much attention to running the country, she allows her confidante and lover Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea), the Duchess of Marlborough, to make important decisions. But their bizarre relationship is disrupted with the arrival of Sarah’s cousin Abigail (Emma Stone, Magic in the Moonlight), a poor young woman who takes a job as a maid, and soon realizes the way to up her stakes in life is to win favor with the unstable queen. This, of course, doesn’t sit well with her domineering relative, and a battle over Anne’s clout and affections begins to play out.

Far from a staid costume drama, The Favourite is a truly one-of-a-kind concoction, a treatise on power and mind games filled with surprises, from fascinating complex characters with wavering allegiances to striking art direction, production design and eccentrically-angled cinematography.

At the center of the film are three terrific Oscar-nominated performances: Olivia Colman’s needy, unhinged ruler, Weisz’s steadfast lady-in-charge and Stone’s Machiavellian servant. Put them all together, throw in dollops of sexual relations and political intrigue, and you have the period costume laugh riot of 2018, worthy of its accolades and ten Academy award nominations (yielding a Best Actress win for Colman).

The Favourite took in $30 million at the domestic box-office at a peak 1500-plus screens, which positioned it right between arthouse winner and minor mainstream success. You can bet, however that its high-profile Oscar run will help bring it a robust home reception and healthy sell-through action, especially among lovers of sophisticated, gorgeously crafted period cinema.

Buy or Rent The Favourite

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.