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The Favourite

Why fight over a man when you can fight over a Queen?

2018 has been a year full of highly anticipated and successful Hollywood releases, from “Black Panther” to “Crazy Rich Asians” to “Incredibles 2,” and “The Favourite” seems like it will join the ranks of exceptional films.

An avant-garde take on the women of the British monarchy, “The Favourite” stars the dynamic actress trio of Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. In the movie, Colman plays the role of Queen Anne, ruler of Great Britain during the 1700s, accompanied by her trusted advisor Lady Sarah, portrayed by Weisz.

The queen and her advisor are scheming to get ready for the impending war with France when an unexpected visitor arrives. And this visitor has plans to stay.

Stone takes on the role of Abigail, a scrappy and feisty young woman, who is determined to ascend through the royal hierarchy to become Queen Anne’s new closest companion.

When Lady Sarah discovers the ploy Abigail is attempting to transform into reality, she is expectedly unpleased. Thus, competition ensues. Who will emerge Queen Anne’s favourite, the loyal and familiar Lady Sarah or the novel and mysterious Abigail?

The trailer begins with a dramatic shot of Lady Sarah explaining to the Queen that they have to focus on the war at hand, the seriousness of the situation augmented by an orchestra of violins playing in the score. Queen Anne exclaims “We won?!” in response. Lady Sarah continues in a serious tone with “It is not over. We must continue,” to which Queen Anne says, “Oh. I did not know that.”

The trailer continues in a similar manner with just the right contrast building between serious and facetious moments. With the tension between the two women vying for Queen Anne’s attention offset by comedy, it is clear the upcoming movie is set to be a dramatic comedy.

Another aspect that the trailer teases is that all of the women in the film are on a non-romantic mission.  Normally, when a new movie involving the dramatic ongoings of a royal palace is set to release, it is safe to assume that a romantic endeavor will be included in the main plot line. However, it does not look like “The Favourite” is going to focus on creating an Enlightenment-era romance.

Even though seeking love does not make a woman less empowered, it is refreshing to see Hollywood films focusing on something other than a love story especially one set in an era in which the cliche “damsel in distress who is saved by a prince” plotline is extremely prevalent.

Female leads drive the plot, and it looks like this battle for the love and trust of Queen Anne is going to be full of spice and fire.

Writer Profile

Maya Ramani

University of Virginia

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