This film was a treat. It is a focus on power, greed, ridicule and aristocracy with assumptions of affection. The sex scenes were not pleasurable, adding a rich layer to how everyone used one another.
Olivia Colman is wonderful. She pours into the neediness of Queen Anne while gaining sympathy for the personal strife she endures. Rachel Weisz is a peak performer as Sarah. She wears the hell out of a suit. There is a lot of showing in the curl of her lip and blink of her eyes. Emma Stone is sultry as Abigail, rising the ranks with the bit of sophistication she once held. Rachel and Emma meet each other perfectly in their scenes. Joe Alwyn is striking as Masham, one of the aristocrats. Nicholas Hoult is the standout of the film as Harley, eager for prominence. Wilson Radjou-Pujalte, Denise Mack and James Smith are a part of a strong ensemble.
Director Yorgos Lanthimos gives detailed direction. Some of the scenes look like surveillance footage. There is more focus than when I saw “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”, which was an absolute trip to watch. Writers Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara crafted a wonderful screenplay, delving into the time period. The humor is rich. It is campy fun as well. Each of the women have individual stories. No matter the characters progressed in the story, they were indebted to the queen. I’m over watching people be sick in a movie. There was also bits of violence but stayed on point with the character development.
Key hair & make-up artist Beverley Binda created fantastic and timely looks. The wigs on the men were beautiful and voluminous. Production Designer Fiona Crombie established the wealth with gorgeous, sprawling grounds. While the gowns and garb are not new to cinema, Costume Designer Sandy Powell adds specificity sharply into the wears, distinguishing between the classes of people. Set Decorator Alice Felton illuminated each room with gilded walls and trinkets. The bunnies were precious and a marker for Queen Anne’s life. Sound Designer Johnnie Burn created a score that drowns into the psyche.