8 February 2019.
THE FAVOURITE ****
This is a deliciously malicious view of the corridors of power in early 18th century England during the reign of Queen Anne when France and England were at war, which was a huge drain on the royal coffers. But this film is mostly a portrait of the intrigues for influence and favors in her court.
The queen is sick and cranky, and fully under the control of her longtime friend and companion, Lady Sarah Churchill, until a lowly cousin of Lady Sarah enters the equation with her sweet voice and sly character, and wheedles her way into the favors of the queen. Who says women rule peacefully and with magnanimity? Power knows no gender, but simply breeds greed and rivalry.
The Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, of often kinky, twisted films like “The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (favorites in the top film festivals of the world), has made a classic period drama here, with great success. The grandiose cinematography, the sumptuous decor and the music, always attuned to the mood, all add up to an unforgettable portrayal of a moment in history.
The three actresses – Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone – who portray the Queen, Lady Sarah and newcomer Abigail, respectively, are all brilliant – playing in turn crafty, cruel, charming or needy, depending on the situation. They have already picked up quite a few awards, and are all nominated for the Oscars, along with the film, the director, screenplay, cinematography, editing, costume and set design: reason enough to run to this exceptional film.
(But “The Green Book” – with five Oscar nominations – is still my top choice.)
BEAUTIFUL BOY **
Yet another film about drug addiction among the young, somewhat like the much better work, “Ben is Back”. This one is the true story of a father’s struggle to help his son who is bored and too enamoured with all sorts of drugs, especially the very dangerous crystal meth. The terrible consequences the situation had on the boy’s life and his family are all documented here from the separate books written by both father and son.
Steve Carell plays the father, while Hollywood’s latest darling, Timothee Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name”) plays his son. For some reason, neither the film nor the actors stirred any feelings in me – neither sadness nor shock. Just a tiresome feeling of how weak and ultimately selfish addicts are.
LA DERNIÈRE FOLIE DE CLAIRE DARLING *1/2 (vo French)
The only point of interest in this film is the fact that the great Catherine Deneuve and her daughter Ciara Mastroianni play the mother and daughter in the story.
Claire Darling lives in a grand old house filled with memories and memorabilia. She believes she will be dying soon and decides to get rid of all that she owns. And so her estranged daughter comes back to salvage what she can of the tangible and intangible. Due to a weak scenario, it is neither convincing nor entertaining. Save your money.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.