Movies: The Favourite, Bird Box, Ben is Back

The Favourite

Where to begin.  First, the facts.  Queen Anne became Queen in 1707.  She ruled for only 12 years.  She suffered from illness most of her life.  She also was pregnant 17 times with 12 miscarriages, four died in their early years.  One son died at the age 11.  The Queen was married to Prince George of Denmark.  He died in 1708.  The Queen died at the age of 49 in 1714.

The Queen and her cousin Sarah Churchill were close childhood friends.  The Queen made Sarah and her husband John Churchill Duke and Duchess of Marlborough along with other titles and benefits.  Sarah’s younger cousin, Abigail, became close as adults and hence the connection to the Queen.

Enough history…back to the film.  The cast is relatively small given the expansive and elaborate sets and attention to detail.  Emma Stone is perfect as Abigail.  Rachel Weisz is exceptional as Sarah Churchill.  Olivia Colman is brilliant as Queen Anne.  The male actors include James Smith as Godolphin, Nicolas Hoult as Robert Harley, Joe Alwyn as Masham and James Melville as the footman.

All that said, we came away from the viewing disappointed.  Cynical comes to mind.  Vulgar, tragic, outrageous and sometimes absurd also occur in heavy doses.  That said, critics love this film in huge numbers.

It is rated R for strong content, nudity and language.  It is listed as a Drama/Comedy with a run time of 2 hours.  It will be nominated for several awards.

We would love to hear your thoughts if you see this one.


Bird Box

This Netflix film was just released (the published release date was/is December 21).  It’s an interesting premise, reflective of the The Quiet Place except this danger responds to vision instead of sound.

This family unit consists of Sandra Bullock as an awesome mom, Sarah Paulson plays her sister.  John Malkovich plays the neighbor.  Machine Gun Kelly plays a neighbor.  Daniel Macdonald plays the victim mother/daughter duo.  It was nice to see Jacki Weaver in a bit part.  Trevante Rhodes is excellent as the compassionate hero under extreme pressure.

The good news is the film is well done, beautifully crafted, terrifying at times but never giving up under insurmountable conditions.

It’s rated R for violence, bloody images, language and brief sexuality.  It is not suitable for younger audiences.  It is listed as a Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy.  The run time is 117 minutes.


Ben is Back

Ben is Back is the story of a son addicted to drugs who unexpectedly returns from a treatment center on Christmas Eve only to find his family is still struggling with the aftermath of his addiction.

Ben’s mom is delighted, his sister is dubious, his step father is upset and the younger children are confused.  And soon the family dog disappears.

The cast and performances are believable.  Lucas Hedges is great as the son Ben Burns.  Julia Roberts gives a stunning performance as the mom.  Kathryn Newton is perfect as the sister.  Courtney Bernard Vance is perfect as the step father.  Another dozen actors fill in the bit parts.

The tension is appropriate.  The tone is tight and intense.  The angst is palatable.  The suspense becomes part of nearly every scene.  The plot is gripping with very few moments of relief.

This film is rated R for language throughout and some drug use.  It is listed as a Drama.  It was written and directed by Peter Hedges, father to the actor Lucas Hedges.  It’s run time is 103 minutes.


3 thoughts on “Movies: The Favourite, Bird Box, Ben is Back”

  1. Interesting to hear your honest review of The Favourite. The ads for the movie are funny and made me really interested in going to see it. Hmmm. Now I might wait. Eager to hear what your friends think, too!

  2. A friend of mine just saw “the Favourite”. Here is her review:
    “We saw “The Favourite” last night. There’s a lot of hype, but we can’t recommend it. A depiction o of unpleasant people that we did not enjoy spending our time with.”

    I really don’t think I will see it now!

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