The Favourite, starring Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, is loosely based on events in the British royal court during the reign of Queen Anne.
Whenever something is labelled as “historic” it can often get bogged down on whether or not the events which happen on screen actually took place in real life. In the case of this film, if the events which take place had actually happened in real life it would have long ago caused a sensation that no monarch since could ever have surpassed or covered up. In any event, to obsess over such things is the somewhat miss the point of a film, tv, or literary adaptation; it is exactly just that: an adaptation.
Indeed, this of all adaptations is whimsical, farcical and light-hearted, it’s purpose is to entertain, and, to a broad extent, that is exactly what it succeeds in doing. Emma Stone, (her who’s star has risen over the past year because of the success of La La Land), plays a servant girl who appears to have come from nowhere, but is, in fact, a down on her luck aristocrat Abigal who finds herself under the charge of Lady Marlborough, played by Rachel Weisz, the favourite lady in waiting of Queen Anne. It is in this position, and because of a few chance encounters with the isolated and lonely monarch, that Abigal seizes an opportunity to regain the once hight status of her family.
Through a series of carefully thought-out manipulations, Abigail is able to win favour with the monarch. The way she approaches it, however, results in her making an enemy of Lady Marlbourgh, who is determined to win back her privelaged place in court.
The film is engaging on the eye with a series of well made costumes and splendidly plush settings, the acting, while not being slapstick hilarious (which would indeed not be in keeping with the tone of the film) is indeed entertaining. The script however seems rushed in places and the dialogue, although this particular reviewer is reluctant to mention it, does not seem in keeping with the times. What however does result on the whole is a thoroughly watchable and entertaining film. Go and see it at the cinema while you can however because it is doubtful whether or not it will have the same hold when it arrives on smaller screens in the future.