The Favourite wasn’t boring. It was just ridiculous and idiotic. This movie is an interesting piece of history, that they made slow and boring (and not particularly accurate in a few places).
The film does a lot of things right. One of those would be casting Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I, the Queen of England; and Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) as Mary Stuart, her cousin.
Mary becomes Queen of France at 16, and is a widow at 18. She returns to her homeland of Scotland, attempting to reclaim her throne. That’s not so easy with England ruling things. That creates a sibling rivalry between Elizabeth and Mary. Things aren’t made easier when you consider how hard things were for women back then. That means you get a lot of men behind the scenes plotting and being manipulative.
The screenplay was written by Beau Willimon (House of Cards), and Josie Rourke makes her directing debut. There’s a lovely score from Max Richter, and gorgeous cinematography from John Mathieson. The costume design will surely get an Oscar nomination. Our Critics’ Choice awards already nominated Alexandra Byrne in that category (we also nominated the picture for “best hair and makeup” and when you see what they did to Robbie’s face with smallpox, you’ll realize how warranted that was). Those are really the only nominations it should get, although I wouldn’t have a problem with Ronan getting an Oscar nod. She just continues to impress me in the different roles she takes.
The movie is certainly ambitious, but with this story, we should be engrossed in what’s going on, not looking at our watches. It just becomes a generic period piece that doesn’t do much to set itself apart from the rest.
Mary fun fact: the guy Mary marries (you won’t blame her after he does something to her you don’t normally see in a period piece, also done recently in The Favourite)…well, he was actually her first cousin. That’s not brought up in the movie.
Unfortunately, that’s not enough to recommend this picture, which is just so slow. That being said, my wife was looking forward to this and really enjoyed it; even more than the 1971 version with Vanessa Redgrave.
I’m giving this 2 stars out of 5. My wife would’ve given it 3 stars.