“The Favourite” – Is Morality a Joke?

Source: fandor.com

I don’t know many people who race geese for fun.  Nor did I realize that throwing tomatoes at a naked man while he laughs and mocks you was a past time for the more affluent.  One comes across many such hobbies in the The Favourite.

The film takes place in the early 18th century in the time of Queen Anne who is struggling not only with ill health, but also a costly war with French across the Channel.  Yet there are many powers at play including those who wish to manipulate the queen to their own ends.  In comes Abigail Masham played by Emma Stone, who has fallen from her aristocratic roots and seeks to find a way to return to being a Lady.

Now there is much ugliness in the film, much betrayal, lying and hurt thrown all around.  Yet, in the film we also see a deeper reflection on where those behaviors in fact lead.

Abigail Masham, for example, thinks of herself as a lady and attempts to always act with honour to those around her.  Yet, when “push comes to shove” and her livelihood is at stake then she argues that soon she will be on the streets selling herself as a prostitute.  All her morality will be a joke to her from then on.   So Abigail, pushes beyond the limits of conventional morality and does something abhorrent.

Our culture to some extent believes morality to be a bad joke.  Something that is made up, and is thrown out when it becomes inconvenient.

Yet, all decisions have consequences.  All moral decisions put in action a chain of events which in the end can be for our good or for our destruction.   Abigail may win back her ladyship, but at what cost to the community, what cost to her marriage, and what cost to her own soul?

Indeed, as much as our culture would like to think there are no rules; yet, the rules are there even if we ignore them.    In The Favourite each character receives the just reward for their fidelity to their own morality.   We as the audience have the opportunity to  observe, and decide, the path we too wish to take.

Raj Vijayakumar is currently residing in Toronto and working as an assistant for L’Arche Canada.

  • Joan levy Earle
    Posted at 09:21h, 01 March Reply

    I went to see THE FAVOURITE because the lead actress won an Academy Award. About half way through this movie, I considered leaving the theatre, especially with the immorality being shown, but decided to stay and observe the rest of this horrible excuse for entertainment.

    The sound direction must have been difficult because there were times when one could not understand the dialogue. The first fifteen minutes were so poorly scripted that one wondered what is this movie about. Even the titles, slipped in between some scenes, were poorly done.

    Yes, the lead actress was convincing, but her line in her acceptance speech at the Oscars: “My agent convinced me to do this film” has me wondering if she really wanted to make such an immoral movie.

    Much of this foolishness may have gone on in this period of history, but I go to the movies to be entertained, informed and mostly uplifted; none of this happened watching this movie.

    I needed to cleanse my mind with a few strong prayers when I got home.
    Fortunately, I did not pay full price; it was cheap night so I was only five dollars out of pocket!

    Joan Levy Earle

  • Peter Bisson, SJ
    Posted at 09:34h, 01 March Reply

    Thank you Raj!

  • Margaret (Peggy) Wilson
    Posted at 15:29h, 01 March Reply

    I have been a fan of the British Royalty all my life and was surprised by this movie. I knew of Queen Ann and Lady Sarah’s relationship, but it had always been portrayed as opportunist, although the Churchills were very valuable to the Britain. So it was some surprise that I went, expecting witty, catty dialogue to find a tale of lesbian love. Which is fine if you want to see a movie based on those issues. So I came home and checked with the the trusty Wikipedia to find that after hundreds of years, in the recent decade, of course, homosexuality had to be injected, as if all relationships circle around gender and sex. It would have been tolerable if it had been better written and you could have had some sympathy for any of the characters. I was terribly disappointed by this movie and considered leaving half way through it.

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