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The Favourite

UK / Ireland / USA 2018
produced by
Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Yorgos Lanthimos, Lee Magiday, Daniel Battsek (executive), Deborah Davis (executive), Rose Garnett (executive), Ken Kao (executive), Andrew Lowe (executive), Tony McNamara (executive), Josh Rosenbaum (executive) for Element Pictures, Scarlet Films, Film4, Waypoint Entertainment/20th Century Fox (Fox Searchlight)
directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Nicholas Hoult, James Smith, Mark Gatiss, Joe Alwyn, Jennifer White, LillyRose Stevens, Edward Aczel, Carolyn Saint-Pé, Jenny Rainsford, Liam Fleming, Anthony Dougall, Denise Mack, Willem Dalby, John Locke, Everal Walsh, Emma Delves, Faye Daveney, Paul Swaine, Timothy Innes, Basil Eidenbenz, James Melville, Declan Wyer, Wilson Radjou-Pujalte, Ben English, Peter Brookes, Gavin Henderson, Djordje Jovanovic, Sam Kemp, Hana McDowell, James Perrin, Luca Wiseman, Callum Lewin, Angela Hicks, Martin Pemberton
written by Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara, music supervisor: Sarah Giles

review by
Mike Haberfelner

England, the early 1700s: To escape her impoverished life caused by her gambling father, Abigail (Emma Stone) decides to go to Queen Anne's (Olivia Colman) court, to see if she can get employ through her cousin, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), who just happens to be the Queen's favourite - and thanks to her honesty and big heart, she's not only employed but soon rises in rank. But she soon observes Sarah to spin a net of intrigue to get the Queen to finance a war against France that's already won as her own husband (Mark Gattis) is the army leader, and also make the Queen more and more dependant from her, even becoming her lover. This all leaves an impression on Abigail, too, and she soon learns a good heart won't open her all the doors, and she starts trying to beat Lady Sarah at her own game, also by becoming the queen's new favourite, while also siding with opposition leader Harley (Nicholas Hoult) in trying to sabotage Lady Sarah's plans of war. Abigail becomes good at this game pretty quick, so good that Lady Sarah eventually fires her but she gets new employ directly from the queen - and becomes her new lover. But she might take things too far when she tries to poison Lady Sarah, but the plan backfires. As Lady Sarah isn't one to give up without a fight ...


What might sound like a convoluted period drama in my synopsis is actually a surprisingly light-footed, absurd and funny film that doesn't smother its material under the weight of historical pretensions but that succeeds to entertain the audience with a well-written tale of lies and desceit that's full of strong characters, sharp dialogue, sight gags and outbursts of comedy, all while keeping up its narrative tension throughout. And of course, a strong cast, a very dynamic direction, and great sets, props and costumes don't hurt one bit either.

Definitely worth a look!


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD