The Favourite released in the UK on 1 January 2019, and it has already won 14 awards and received a rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Though it is not recommended to go by ratings sometimes, this film surely takes a place in one of the greatest period drama tragicomedies to date.
But is it 100% accurate? For the most part, yes. For instance the real Queen Anne was believed to have suffered “from Gout and severe myopia and the blighted womb of a “mater infelix” that seemed incapable of giving the nation a living heir”.(New States Man)
However modern Doctors have concluded that Anne suffered “from a type of lupus (erythematosus), which can cause chronic arthritis, repeated miscarriages, red skin rashes, and joint pain in hands and legs”.
As for the lesbianism that was portrayed heavily throughout the film, there is no actual historical evidence of a homosexual relationship between Anne, Sarah and Abigail (Emma Stone), though “there is no way to rule them out categorically and that is the beauty of a fictionalisation”.
However it is known that Anne sent hundreds of letters to Sarah – love-like letters – which can be depicted as either a friendship love or an erotic love. The film takes both routes. We do not realise that Anne and Sarah are intimate for a while, and when we see it, we are shocked, because a homosexual relationship between the women was so well covered up, so unlikely to have been acted upon in that era, that we just didn’t realise what was there all along.
Because of this, Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz’s performance was heightened and appreciated as a way of showing what might happen behind closed doors at times of War and crisis among the people. The Favourite depicts how human they are, how their emotions can surround them. Hence the bunnies.
The bunnies convey the 17 deceased children of Queen Anne, but not only that. As they surround the screen at the end of the film, we realise the representation of the Queen’s anxieties and emotions. They scurry around in her head, clouding her judgement. Her need for those to help her rule parallels her failing health, and her lesbianism is something she must keep behind closed doors. The bunnies represent the many things she keeps bottled up, and we see them overlap each other at the end. She is lost.