Tuesday, January 29, 2019

On Looking Like a Badger

Nothing like a good anachronistic costume drama on a soggy night.

As many times as I'd seen the previews for "The Favourite" at Movieland over the past few months, I wasn't expecting the movie I finally saw tonight. The preview, like so many, didn't really convey the film's essence, instead using snippets of scenes that suggested a period romp with some "Mean Girls" action.

Not even close.

Instead, it was an absurdist take on history (politicians holding indoor duck races, royals pelting a naked man with rotten fruit for sport), full of modern-day dialog ("No pressure," said no 18th century person ever), pathos (a queen who keeps 17 rabbits in her bed chamber to signify the 17 children she miscarried or were stillborn) and crazy fish-eye camera lenses that made the palace feel like a claustrophobic fun house.

Also, lots of vomiting due to drunkenness, binge eating and poisoning. Oh, yes, and a hand job. And granted, the opulent costumes were pure eye candy, even if no 18th century royal ever wore a dress covered in large polka dots.

And that doesn't even begin to touch on the stellar performances of the three women who star in the film - Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone - all of whom got Oscar nods. If only one can win, my full support goes to Coleman who manages to convey all the contradictions of the Queen's personality, loneliness and ailing body without losing the humanity of her as a flawed woman.

Not to be overlooked is how utterly refreshing it was to see a movie with so much girl power, not to mention that all the male roles were in service of the female characters.

Mac had seen the film with her Mom on Christmas Day and told me that her Mom had found the film to be a downer. I'm guessing she wasn't the only one because when the final scene dissolved to black tonight, there was  stunned silence in the nearly full theater.

The guy behind me turned to his date and said, "No way," as if disappointed that things hadn't been wrapped up in a more happily-ever-after manner. This is satire, people. Do we really think that Queen Anne said, "I like it when she puts her tongue in me?" No, no we don't.

Besides, every now and then, it's good to be reminded that bad behavior is its own punishment.

Driving home, I realized that with tonight's movie, I've now seen four of the eight Oscar nominees for Best Picture: "The Favourite," "BlacKKKlansman," "Green Book" and "A Star is Born," although how that last one got in there, I'll never understand.

Give me a good satire with bite, bossy women and heaving breasts any day. That's entertainment.

No comments:

Post a Comment