The Favourite

The Favourite. What a strange film! The story, if you can call this frayed fantasy a story, plays out in a claustrophobic world, folded in on itself, dripping with decay and decline, cloaked in stuffy air, yet run through with violence and rampant sensuality. Naked brutality erupts in the crude words spat from people’s mouths. For all the mad queen’s occasional moments of lucidity, the film is rife with madness, smacking of the queen’s court in the tales of Alice. The courtiers, notwithstanding their political intrigues, are as mad as the queen. Their pastimes and their stilted relationships are outrageous and would be hilarious, were it not for the undercurrent of deadly seriousness. That didn’t stop me from bursting out laughing, laughter offtimes tinged with guilt. Thank heavens the cinema is shroud in darkness. The film director revels in the madness, conjuring up one surrealistic scene after another. We are led to expect the inevitable tragedy, several times, but who knows if the confusion of images that ends it all, brings the relief we were hoping for.

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