Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) is unwell both physically and, at times, mentally. She is advised by Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) who is serving her own interest, advising against the men in parliament. Then Abigail (Emma Stone) turns up, a relative who has fallen on bad times and begins working in the palace.
This is the new film by Yorgos Lanthimos who previously made The Lobster and Killing of a Sacred Deer, and I love his style. This is quite different to his previous films, but with plenty of the wonderful absurdity. Everyone in it is magnificent, but Olivia Colman is incredible. What an amazing actress, she does funny, she does tragic, she’s got it all, and this role was absolutely made for her.
The Favourite won Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Olivia Colman) and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Emma Stone), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Rachel Weisz) and Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
It’s an alternative world, where if you become single (even through death or divorce), you are taken to a hotel where you are stripped, put into identical clothes and you have forty-five days to find love or you are turned into an animal (to give you a second go at finding love). The only way you can give yourself a greater chance is if, during the hunt, you bag one or more ‘loners’ – single people who live and thrive in the woods. David (Colin Farrell) ends up at the hotel with his dog/brother, but decides to take an alternative path.
This is an insane, strange, mysterious, hilarious, fantastic, strange, wonderful, awful, amazing, strange film. I totally loved it, but there are many reasons I couldn’t see it again. The performances were all so strange and controlled but utterly perfect, and Colin Farrell in particular was amazing. I don’t know exactly who I’d recommend this to, but I’d certainly recommend watching it like I did, at an outdoor screening like Shadow Electric at the Abbottsford Convent in Melbourne, with an audience who enjoy laughing aloud.
The Lobster was nominated for a BAFTA for Best British Film.
Set in Alexandria in late 4th century Egypt, Agora is based around the life of philosopher and mathematician Hypatia (Rachel Weisz). She is obsessed with her learning and teaching, finding more meaning in this than the religious battles that go on in the city. Several of her students become key players in the fights; first Christians against Pagans, then Christians against Jews. The fighting is bloody and aggressive, with each group demanding power. Meanwhile, Hypatia influences those in power as she searches to find the paths of the heavens and the place that Earth occupies in the universe.
A bit of research (yes, Wikipedia, and yes, I know it can be flawed, but I’m not interested enough to follow the references and links for more definitive sources of information) shows that the events depicted in the film are, for the most part, based on one of the accounts that exists of Alexandria and Hypatia. However, given that it is many hundreds of years ago, it is difficult to know the accuracy. Certainly, there is a lot of dramatic license taken in the representation of Davus (Max Minhella) and his love/lust for Hypatia.
It’s a beautiful film, with set and costume that may well be accurate of the time. My key issue with it was that there seemed so much going on, and that took away from my interest. Plus, I didn’t connected with any of the characters, not even Hypatia, and so I didn’t care about what was happening with them.
It has come out in the press that, as part of the war, people have been taken to unknown locations and tortured. The British Government deny all knowledge of this, but then a senior worker in intelligence Johnny Worricker(Bill Nighy) is given documentation that proves (on page eight) that the Prime Minister knew. Worricker has to figure out what he should do with this information when his mentor and boss Benedict Baron (Michael Gamon) dies of a heart attack. Add into this a new, attractive neighbor who Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz) is very suspicious of.
I think I liked this film. There’s a lot of information happening, and I did find some of the choices that Worricker made to be quite suspicious. I couldn’t understand, for example, why he would trust some people over others. It’s possible that I just missed the cues for this – having watched a lot of Hollywood blockbusters lately, and perhaps I’m too used to the massive and obvious cues that anything more subtle can be missed. It’s good and it’s clever, but I don’t think it is brilliant. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t be recommending anyone rush out to hire it immediately.