I saw this film last SAT evening (w/ 2 gals from my movie Meetup) at Landmark E St (downtown DC). For a cold/rainy night, MANY people who favor indies came out (our theater was full). There is SO much to like about this (NOT like any other) period piece! If you (like me) enjoy historical dramas, then you MAY be (pleasantly) surprised by director Yorgos Lanthimos’ take on 17th century England. If you (like the 20-something group of friends sitting behind me) enjoy the absurd, you’re ALSO in for a treat. If you want to simply be entertained by wild hair/makeup, intricate costumes, beautiful scenery, and characters who LOVE to be bad- check it out.
The three female leads (two over the age of 40- whoa) ALL give great performances; the depressed/gout-stricken Anne (Olivia Colman, best known for Broadchurch) may be queen, BUT it’s her closest friend- Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz, fierce and fabulous as ever)- who runs the show. Lady Sarah is beautiful, intelligent, and VERY politically savvy; she meets w/ MPs (as well as foreign diplomats), and even has the keys to Anne’s chambers. The film belongs a BIT more to noblewoman-turned-maid Abigail (Emma Stone, now age 30) who is a cousin of Lady Sarah in dire need of a job. This role is as far from La La Land as Stone can get (smart move, girl)! Abigail is the one we want to root for at the start of the story, BUT she’s NOT as helpless/clueless/ innocent as we assume.
The writing (truly unique- NOT all historically accurate), camera work (esp. use of wide fish eye lens), and lighting (in some scenes- ONLY candles were used) set this film apart from anything I’ve seen before. There is a dance number that you MUST see to believe- the audience was roaring w/ laughter. Yes, there is plenty of humor here, in case you didn’t gather that from the trailers, reviews, or cast interviews. The men, incl. Nicholas Hoult (a prominent/scheming MP), are more in the background here. Lady Sarah’s husband, played by actor/writer Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), is off fighting the war (France) most of the time.
You don’t have to ONLY take my word for it, so here are a few excerpts from IMDB reviews:
The three main actresses are definitely the highlight of the movie: Rachel Weisz is amazing and of course, Olivia Colman is outstanding. I wouldn’t complain if she gets nominated for an Oscar next year, but can we talk about Emma Stone? Yes, I’m a fan, but I really think her performance is the best in the whole movie, maybe it’s because she also plays the most interesting character.
Honestly all I can say is that this film was not what I was expecting and far exceeded my expectations. The chemistry between the actors and also the visual story is absolutely stunning and I’m just wowed by how well done everything is done in this film.
It’s sharp intelligence and sarcastic approach devours the mind, cinematography wows, acting mesmerizes and overwhelms, soundtrack creates with the atmosphere of the movie that is so raw and somehow relatable to this day.
Arguably the most fascinating showcase of acting from each of its three leads, the dynamics of the trio are effervescent, chock-full of disdainful side-glances, sharp smiles and lascivious touches, making every man look like a disposable accessory.