** (out of 4)
WARNING: Spoilers in review.
In the history of film, the motif of female rivalry has provided fodder for showbiz satires (All About Eve), Westerns (Johnny Guitar), cult classics (Mean Girls), psychological thrillers (Black Swan), and Civil War dramas (The Beguiled) alike. By contrast, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite takes us to the court of Queen Anne, an 18th-century English monarch. There, a duchess named Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and a maid named Abigail (Emma Stone) variously resort to insults, emotional manipulation, blackmail, firearms, and poison in their desperate attempts to become Anne’s one most trusted confidant.