England, early 18th century. The country is ruled by Queen Anne Stewart (Olivia Colman). Anna is not too keen on state affairs, she has health problems, meanwhile, now she needs to solve a lot of important issues, because England is at war with France over the Spanish heritage. Instead of Anna, her close friend Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz), the wife of the Duke of Marlborough (Mark Gatiss), is in charge of state affairs. Sarah has a great influence on Anna – they have been friends since childhood.
At some point, Sarah takes her distant relative as a servant – a certain Abigail Hill (Emma Stone), a girl from a ruined family, forced to work as a simple servant. Abigail closely follows the relationship between Sarah and Anna and at some point finds out that they also have a sexual relationship.
Sarah, being busy with state affairs and not being able to spend all her days next to the queen, sends Abigail to help Anna. She deftly took advantage of the situation, rubbed herself into Anna’s confidence, made her way into her bed and began to intrigue against Sarah.
A joint project of the Americans, the British and the Irish, a costume drama (in some places it is called a comedy) about a certain period in the life of the English Queen Anne Stewart and her favorites – Sarah Churchill and Abigail Hill, as many as ten Oscar nominations, a victory in the nomination “Best female role “Olivia Colman, a total of 145 awards and 269 nominations – yes, as if I were not torn apart by such magnificence, I thought. I’m not a big fan of costume dramas, and to be honest, when Americans take on costume dramas from the life of the good old England, they rarely get something decent, more often some kind of costumed madhouse comes out like this movie “Another of a Kind Boleyn.”
However, it was all directed by a very original director Yorgos Lanthimos, but he was under the strict control of the producers aimed at the Oscar, so they didn’t give him much freedom, and he shot the picture not according to his own script, but according to the script of a certain Deborah Davis ( she wrote this exciting story about twenty years ago, and why it was unearthed only now is not known for certain) and serial screenwriter Tony McNamara.
To be honest, I mastered this movie only the second time. And only out of a sense of duty. Because when I started watching this, at first I simply could not understand what was happening and why they were doing this to me, and most importantly, why they did this to Anna Stewart, who, frankly, was by no means an outstanding queen, but here’s what she suddenly turned out to be a lesbian in the film of the 21st century, who fucked with Aunt Sarah, and she practically wiped her feet about her in public – to be honest, it was a little difficult for me to survive.
Note that I have nothing against lesbians, quite the opposite, but such liberties with a historical figure about whom nothing of the kind was known, and Sarah Churchill was her close friend long before the death of Anna’s husband George of Denmark – this, to be honest, looked strange, but but it was clear that under the “Oscar” it was immediately possible to drill a recess on the wardrobe – academicians love this.
It would be nice if Sarah became a Jew, even better – one-legged, but honestly, this was not mentioned in the picture, and if Sarah had one leg, she skillfully hid it under the prosthesis.
No, I am quite ready for the fact that the English court of those times will be shown in the form of a specific booth, Anna will fuck with Sarah, then with Abigail, or even with some rabbit Rabbit, but here everything is presented on a completely serious basis and with an incredibly pathetic look like a “historical drama” – and in this form it looks more than strange, as well as Anna’s phrase “fuck me” in relation to Sarah. How much I read about this time, there were still somewhat different manners, although I fully agree that the English aristocracy could get drunk, vomit, masturbate and articulate, like all normal people. The director kindly showed us all this, so many thanks to him for the historical digression.
The whole complicated politics of those times is reduced to whether Anna will introduce a new land tax to raise a division in aid of the Duke of Marlborough, or not. Otherwise, the director is not interested in understanding, so everything is reduced to how Abigail gradually rubs herself into the trust of Anna and eventually crushes Sarah. At the same time, the idea that Sarah kind of loved Anna disinterestedly, and Abigail is a vile viper who wants power and wealth, is pedaled.
All this is filmed very magnificently and in a terribly annoying manner: the enemies of cameraman Robbie Ryan sawed off the tripods of all cameras and he constantly shoots from low points (the cameraman Maxim Osadchy used a similar manner in the amazingly idiotic film “Duelist”), and besides, Ryan does not like strain when framing indoors, so he shoots with ultra-wide-angle lenses of 10 millimeters of focal length, so the picture is terribly distorted and it looks, to be honest, completely disgusting. Moreover, he even shoots scenes in the open air, where it looks quite wild – well, he cannot part with him, they have love, like Anna and Sarah.
Also, a noticeable part of the picture is devoted to solemn passages along long corridors back and forth, back and forth, and the same camera technique is always used, which, to be honest, in the end, was already utterly tired.
For the first forty-five minutes of the film, I was completely bewildered by the character of Anna, played by Olivia Colman. I know this actress from very minor roles, like the constantly pregnant idiot from the Green Wing series, and here at the beginning Anna looked about the same idiot, only not pregnant (however, before that Anna had seventeen children, many of whom were never born or born dead). On stage, when Anna throws another tantrum, falls to the floor, hugs the hard-hearted Sarah’s legs and says something “you are so tasty that I would eat you whole”, I threw a Bagel at the TV screen and said that I had enough of everything this shit. At the same time, of course, I was absolutely shocked that an Oscar was awarded for this role.
However, when I unsticked Bagel from the TV screen and forced myself to watch this madhouse to the end (as you know, I am not a professional critic, so I consider it absolutely impossible for myself to write a review without watching the film in its entirety), then, I confess, the role of Anna is everything -it acquired some tragic notes and she looked, after all, like an unfortunate suffering woman, and not like a hysterical idiot. Nevertheless, I don’t see anything so outstanding in this role, but, as you probably already understood, I didn’t like the film either.
Rachel Weisz’s Sarah Churchill (in reality, Sir Winston Churchill’s great-great-great-grandmother) turned out to be quite interesting, but too tough and straightforward, and her relationship with Anna, when Sarah could take Anna by the throat with an iron hand and press her to the canopy post, looked somewhat defiant.
Emma Stone turned out to be a rather lively viper, who carefully and systematically built her career at court. And Bublik and I were all waiting to see if she would crush the rabbit with her foot or not, but the director decided not to risk it – they might not even give an Oscar for this.
The men in this film do not play any prominent role: they are exposed as pomaded and powdered jerks. The only entertainment they allow themselves to do is throw oranges at a completely naked clown. Well, you understand, the English aristocracy, it’s like that. But is it up to men when such lesbian passions are played out here!
All in all, I’m mortally disappointed. I was counting on a costume drama, but I got a complete farce in the style of “Duelist”, filmed incredibly pathetically from completely furious points with terribly annoying wide-angle lenses. That’s it. Sorry if I didn’t offend anyone.
PS I’ll go and review the sensational United States “Glass of Water” in due time, based on the play by Eugene Scribe. There are the same characters, but the love triangle is completely different: both the Queen and the Duchess of Marlborough are in love with Samuel Masham (Arthur Masham in the film), whom Abigail married. Strange aunts – fall in love with a man. What do they even allow themselves, right?!
PPS Several portraits of real historical characters from this film.
Queen Anne Stuart, 1702 by John Closterman.
Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, 1700 by Charles Gervase.
Abigail Hill, 1710, unknown artist.
Favorite / The Favorite movie review
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos Cast: Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Emma Stone, Joe Alwyn, Emma Delves, Fay Daveney, Paul Swain, Jennifer White, Lilyrose Stevens
Budget: $15M, Worldwide Grossing: $94M
Drama, Ireland-UK-USA, 2018, 119 min.