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The Favourite


Year: 2018 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos 
Starring: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz  
An image from The Favourite

Buy Tickets on the SU Website:
19:30 Tuesday 7th March 2023


A period drama has never felt this modern. Set in early 18 th century England, The Favourite follows a fictionalized version of the very real Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman), as she is struggling with her parliament, country and health in the midst of the war with France. While this premise sounds like the plot of every historical epic you’ve ever seen, The Favourite is anything but. The real crux of the story is the scheming and manipulation used by Anne’s close consort Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and her cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) to gain power. The dynamics between the leads dominate the movie and leave the historical grandeur as mere background noise, as they constantly shift from confrontational, to sincere, to competitive, to cruel, but all the while remaining consistently riveting.

Also, have I mentioned how weird it is? Not that anything else is to be expected from director Yorgos Lanthimos, but The Favourite truly reaches new peaks in his career in terms of how funny, unpredictable and strange the film is. On display are unforgettable sequences of absurdity and excess that highlight the ridiculousness of the aristocracy, and remarkable filmmaking techniques that make every scene rich with character and atmosphere (making it a must-watch on the big screen). But the undisputed highlight of the film has to be the performances, with all 3 leads delivering career-best work (which is saying a lot), and even snagging Coleman a Lead Actress Oscar. The Favourite is an unforgettable exploration of power, love, trust and manipulation, and is easily one of my all-time… Well… Favourites.

Edvard Gaters

In eighteenth century England, two women (Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone) compete ruthlessly for Queen Anne’s (Olivia Coleman) affections, against a backdrop of courtroom politics over the war with France. But who will reign in becoming the Favourite?

Director Yorgos Lanthimos’ new project defies conventions in an eccentric take on classic period drama, and it is no surprise that the film has created such awards season buzz. The beautiful cinematography, the phenomenal acting and the sardonic script all make The Favourite a delightful absurdity to watch. While the remarkable Olivia Coleman injects swathes of humour and pathos into her neurotic depiction of Queen Anne, Rachel Weisz - as Sarah Churchill - delivers a sultry, complex performance as the Queen’s possessive right hand woman, and Emma Stone - as Abigail Masham - shines as the only American in the cast. Due to the breath-taking and complicated performances from the three actresses, the other characters fade from view and seem to watch on from the edges; nevertheless, The Favourite includes respectable performances from About a Boy’s Nicholas Hoult, and relative newcomer Joe Alwyn. Colman in particular is beyond doubt the star of the film: taking the viewers aboard a ride of the Queen’s emotions: from despair, to paranoia, to rage, petulance, vulnerability, and sheer tragedy, she truly shines.

As a subversive and moving story about female politics, the pursuit of power and love, The Favourite is, quite clearly, a must-watch.

Naz Ozkan

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Screenings of this film:

2018/2019 Spring Term (digital)
2018/2019 Spring Term (digital)
2022/2023 Spring Term (digital)