The Favourite ★★★★★

Darkly comedic, uniquely empowering, and gleefully subversive, The Favourite is the best film of 2018. It retains director Yorgos Lanthimos's trademark weirdness and unapologetic irreverence seen in prior films like Dogtooth and The Killing of Sacred Deer. In The Favourite, Lanthimos brings his polarizing style to a delightfully wicked script penned by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, concerning a heated rivalry between two deliciously cunning women in the early eighteenth-century court of Queen Anne. The female-led cast is truly a joy to behold. Olivia Coleman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz thrive in the candle-lit spotlight, effortlessly realizing the narrative's eclectic blend of comedy and drama. The production design of The Favourite, from the costuming and makeup work to the period set pieces, is a remarkable achievement. Lanthimos brings an avant-garde flavor to an increasingly stale genre, perfectly meshing his filmmaking abilities with the exceptional talents of the cast. The Favourite ends with a ominous warning about the fragility of authority and the lives ruined in the quest to maintain power.