Just a thought… No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough. [Roger Ebert]
Well, here we are, one day closer to the weekend and one day after the Oscar Nominations were announced for another year. Since I totally didn’t get Roma, which was honoured with 10 nominations yesterday (my earlier review here, if you’re interested), I thought maybe I’d have better luck with the film which tied Roma for 10 noms, The Favourite.
I try hard not to go into a film knowing too much about it; had I done so, I could easily have ruined the experience of The Wife, whose starring turn by Glenn Close should finally win her Best Actress (on her 7th nomination) on Sunday, February 24.
Here’s what I knew about The Favourite going in: a rather libidinous royal (played by Olivia Colman, soon to be Queen Elizabeth II on TV’s The Crown) is wooed and swayed by two younger courtiers – fellow Oscar nominees Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, who are both trying to earn her favour through intimacy. I could expect, I believed, a rollicking and rrrrrribald comedy.
One journal visitor told me that she and her husband were prompted to leave (or nearly leave) the theatre mid-movie. Now that is something I’ve never done: gotten up and left a film. I’d have to be in the wrong theatre or have chosen a totally inappropriate film in order to gather up my coat, purse and snacks and leave my $13 seat behind. So, I knew we weren’t going to do that.
We paid our discount Tuesday $7 ($8.30 with online booking fee, which is stupid ’cause we’re doing the work here) and off we went last evening; popcorn and peanut M&Ms for supper once again. It’s good to be a grown-up.
The film is set in the 18th century; the central figure, Queen Anne, is the last of the ruling Stuarts. Beset by ailments and able to trust few, as she rules in war on the field and conflict in the palace, she finds herself the unwitting flag in a game of tug o’ war between her controling lady-in-waiting (Weisz) and a conniving, grasping, seemingly angelic scullery maid (Stone) who moves stealthily up the palace ladder.
There’s plenty of planning and intrigue but NO ENDING. The film just goes black in the midst of a scene that seems to paint that truly “you can’t always get what you want,” whether you’re “to the manor born” or you let nothing get in the way of your goal. Everyone pays a price for everything we have.
At least…I think that’s the message? Like almost every skit on Saturday Night Live, this film (which had glints of humour but far fewer laughs than an episode of SNL) simply went black without wrapping up any loose ends. It reminded me of Roma in that way, too. It just ends. (But do stick around for The Favourite‘s credits; they’re truly the most annoying post-film graphics I’ve ever seen. Like an eye chart, only less legible and with a far shorter window for viewing each slide.)
I didn’t dislike The Favourite, but there’s no way I can recommend it – or at least, not all of it. It needed an ending. We invested far too much in the Lady, the Queen, the maid and the members of parliament just to have it go to a black screen.
If that’s art, I’ll take mine paint-by-number. You, too, Roma.
Talk to you here tomorrow.