While I’m never completely sure what to make of Yorgos Lanthimos’ movies, they’re at least worth watching just for the curiosity factor. His latest, The Favourite, looks like it could be an awards contender, and it’s staking its claim on the festival circuit. Variety reports that the movie, which is about “the court wranglings of Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz) and her servant Abigail Hill (Emma Stone) as they jockey for position with Queen Anne (Olivia Colman),” will open the 56th New York Film Festival.
“’The Favourite’ is a lot of things at once, each of them perfectly meshed: a historical epic; a visual feast; a wild, wild ride; a formidable display of the art of acting from Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, and Olivia Colman, abetted by a brilliant cast; a tour de force from Yorgos Lanthimos. And… it’s a blast,” New York Film Festival director and selection committee chair Kent Jones said in a statement.
The film will screen on September 28th, but it’s worth noting that Fox Searchlight is making NYFF the movie’s “New York debut”, which means it’s probably debuting somewhere in America first, likely Telluride, which doesn’t announce its selections until the day before the festival begins. The film is already expected to screen at the Venice Film Festival, so now the question becomes whether or not it will appear at the Toronto International Film Festival. Typically, the big features that play at NYFF don’t show up at TIFF (e.g. Birdman, Last Flag Flying, The Walk, Inherent Vice).
As far as a launching pad goes, NYFF is a bit of a mixed bag. You can get important titles like Her, Captain Phillips, and Nebraska, but there are also movies that don’t make much of an impact on awards season like Last Flag Flying and The Walk. It remains to be seen how The Favourite will go over with both critics and awards prognosticators.
The Favourite will hit theaters in limited release on November 23rd.