Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman,
"Loosely based on real Events"
The Favourite should be lauded for having three strong female characters yet having said that the open ended conclusion leaves so much to be desired. I read it is the style of director Yorgos Lanthimos to have vague endings in most of his film so he stayed true to form. Okay I am jumping the gun, pardon me.
It is set in early 18th century during the reign of a very weak Queen Anne (Olivia Colman). She is assisted (in more ways than one) by her close friend, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) who basically runs the country. A period when England is in a very costly war with France and the peasants are getting restless.
Enter Abigail (Emma Stone) who happens to be Lady Sarah's cousin who has fallen on hard times. She is employed as a servant yet as she endears herself to Lady Sarah, she is 'promoted' to I guess, a personal assistant. Abigail is fiercely determined and uses her new role to ingratiate herself to the Queen and won't stop until she regains her aristocratic status.
The conniving, the treachery, the jealousy and the malicious mischief that arises between these three female characters is wicked yet quite entertaining. The costume design of that century is well represented and the locales are depicted in vast mansions and castles, even the design of the gaudy interiors is realistically enhanced.
Olivia Colman did justice to her role as the frail Queen Anne. She is deteriorating before our eyes, her mood swings are scary and her dark past is hauntingly piercing in the form of 17 rabbits in her bedroom.
Rachel Weisz has always been a steady actress and as Lady Sarah, she is in her elements. There are questions about Lady Sarah's main intentions towards the Queen. Did she mean well and cared as a true friend, or did she have vested interests in maintaining the status quo in the country? I'd say she was honest, deeply loyal and boldly dedicated to both her country and to the Queen.
It is really refreshing to watch Emma Stone. As the supposedly meek yet cunning Abigail, she was detestable. We hate her, despise what she stands for and reviles the methods she used to ingratiate herself to the Queen.
My thoughts on the ending: the three characters are exactly where they are supposed to be and it is far too late in the game to steer away from their current miserable situations. The Queen is trapped, not just physically but also mentally isolated. Lady Sarah is exiled or maybe even jailed for ruining the country and Abigail, well judging from that sly smile on her face, she realizes she will always be a parasite, an organism that depends on its host to survive. As for the rabbits, they are symbolic of the Queen's agony as well as the supposedly innocent characteristic of Abigail. Cute and cuddly yet sly and crafty because we all know the saying about rabbits, don't we?