The Favourite tells the story of the tangled affinities of Great Britain’s Queen Anne, the Duchess of Marlborough, and the duchess’s cousin, Abigail Hill.
Think All About Eve, or the campy catfights from primetime ’80s soap operas like Dynasty*, but with real people and higher stakes.
As the long-time favourite of Queen Anne, Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough, wielded tremendous influence over the royal household and the queen’s political appointments. But eventually, the duchess became too domineering, too distant, and too demanding for the queen.
Waiting in the wings was Sarah’s impoverished cousin, Abigail. Sarah had secured a position for Abigail as Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Anne.
You can see where this is headed, can’t you? As Sarah’s relationship to the queen deteriorated, Abigail’s grew apace.
The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize and Olivia Colman took home the Best Actress award for her portrayal of Queen Anne. Rachel Weisz plays Sarah Churchill and Emma Stone plays Abigail Hill. The current Tomatometer rating is at 94%.
The Favourite is scheduled to be released in the US on 23 November 2018.
*How can anyone maintain that the last 15 years have been the Golden Age of Television when the 20th century produced masterpieces like Dynasty? You won’t find brilliant scenes like this on Killing Eve or The Good Place.
Dynasty’s Greatest Moment
(For Those Too Young to Remember a Time When Shoulderpads Ruled the Earth)
The creators of Dynasty claimed they were inspired by Robert Graves’s I, Claudius. Graves was alive but unwell when the series began its run. Dynasty is probably what finished him off.
In the 1980s, this is what passed for high-quality TV fare. All three actors in this scene were nominated for Best Actor or Best Actress Emmy awards for their performances in Dynasty. John Forsythe, in fact, was nominated three times. The show itself got 24 Emmy nominations, including one for Outstanding Drama Series.