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La favorita
Yorgos Lanthimos Regno Unito, 2018
The patriarchal circuits through which a film moves curtail the radicality of its use of abjection, especially when this is used by men as an aesthetic tool. Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite (2018) uses the abject status of its central character to cursorily present a challenge to sex and gender categories, but its feminism is superficial. Here abjection is without tenderness; corporality met by patriarchal coldness.
March 06, 2019
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The Favourite is perverse and sadomasochistic, a gratifying evocation of doddering power and the jockeying that swarms it in decline.
February 22, 2019
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Take a good, open-minded look at The Favourite in this light – a peculiarly Australian light – and you’ll see the traces (intended or not) of the agonising power games in Shirley Barrett’s Love Serenade (1996), the crazy historical anachronisms in Young Einstein (1988), and the queer play with gender roles underlying the work of P.J. Hogan or Stephan Elliott.
January 24, 2019
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What can an extreme wide angle do for a “fun” but ultimately flat period drama filled with lusty intrigue, female rivalry, the machinations of state power, and some quirky animal stuff? The answer is nothing. Not that such a lens couldn’t work; it’s just that Yorgos Lanthimos doesn’t do anything remotely interesting with it.
January 19, 2019
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It’s captivating and propulsive, animated by committed performances and flamboyant cinematography replete with fish-eye and low-angle shots. It has the feel of a Vermeer painting come to life.
January 10, 2019
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Often accused of ham-fisted endings, Lanthimos triumphs here. Deflating our delight, he puppeteers a rollicking game only to unveil it as futile.
January 02, 2019
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[Lanthimos] sets aside his taste for the surreal social parable to articulate a modernist approach to costume drama: a turn from fantasy to history in which the usual quietism and monotony of the acting is replaed by an expressive tragicomic modulation (elevated to pure virtuosity by Olivia Colman as England’s Queen Anne).
January 02, 2019
He’s perhaps the last director one would expect to find working on a period costume drama featuring real historical figures. But The Favourite gratifyingly proves that Lanthimos can put his mordantly idiosyncratic stamp on even this staidest of genres.
January 01, 2019
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The two funniest movies I saw in theaters this year [were Barry Lyndon and The Favourite], even if Lyndon always makes me cry. Gorgeously designed and arrestingly lensed tales of occasional scoundrels who will claw the best they can over anyone who gets between them and a higher lot in society. “Good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.”
December 28, 2018
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I laughed along at the many jokes and glorious one-liners scattered throughout – but watching Colman as she nervously allows Abigail to play with her rabbits before opening up about her tragedies and finally introducing the furry pets as “my children” was a tear-jerking moment I shall treasure for a long while.
December 20, 2018
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Shooting a lot of this flawlessly period film on 6mm fisheye lenses, Yorgos found a way, that doesn’t feel like a “way” at all, to shoot this austere story with stinging freshness. To call it “modern” is obvious, but the awesome paradox here is that it feels both hyper-modern and absolutely period at the same time. It is camera obscura, realized. It’s Vermeer moving.
December 13, 2018
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I have never seen a film like The Favourite: a story about three bad women—bad in very different, very interesting ways—whose badness both makes and breaks the relationships between them.
December 09, 2018
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The humor is crisp and dry and sometimes bawdy, though there are moments of cutting sadness too.
November 29, 2018
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Any smart-aleck high-school film nerd can tell you that Lanthimos is copying Kubrick, the fish-eye lenses maestro, who couldn’t resist preening technology to underscore his misanthropic tales. Lanthimos outlived Kubrick and so gives us the fish-eye cliché to reassure Millennial viewers that it’s okay to laugh at people who are targets of their envy and disdain.
November 28, 2018
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A sentimental soul might wish for a glimpse of something else, but at the same time it’s hard to say that anything is missing from this tableau, which is also a devastating, flattering and strangely faithful mirror.
November 21, 2018
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Lanthimos’s most pandering film, a work in which his eccentricity seems, for the first time, studied. He has been exasperating before, but exasperation is a price worth paying for dealing with certain talents. It is harder to know what to do with a Lanthimos that is merely able and entertainingly acrid—I only hope not to see the likes of him again.
November 21, 2018
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It’s a film so replete with ostentatious Directing—swish pans! Reverse dolly shots! The recurring use of a fisheye lens for no discernible reason!—that the story is sometimes hard to discern beneath the layers of crenellated fondant.
November 19, 2018
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I happened to see the film the day after the Kavanaugh-Ford hearings, and it is a tribute to Lanthimos to say that his portrait of sexual politics on a grand stage was almost as riveting as the political theater—alternately inspiring and mortifying, and finally demoralizing—on CNN.
November 02, 2018
It’s clear these actors are having a blast chewing through each scene, as all the performances—including supporting turns from Nicholas Hoult and Joe Alwyn—are in perfect sync with the singular anachronistic tone characteristic of Lanthimos’s work.
October 01, 2018
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I don’t think this adds up to a vision on the part of Lanthimos, whose glib misanthropy hardly equals the more profound and potent variety offered by Michael Haneke.
September 29, 2018
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The Favourite is a screwball comedy on the tragical loss of good sense in times of weak leaders, egomaniac influencers and competitive consulting. A devilish funny game of thrones.
September 12, 2018
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At length, the joke runs dry and suspicion creeps in that the film’s myriad historical inaccuracies – these range from the fanciful costumes to the characters’ screamingly preposterous disregard of social norms – represent less an effort at genre subversion than a necessary cop-out.
August 31, 2018
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