June 2019 Club
Queen’s Surprise Club – The Favourite (2018)
The film is set in the early 18th Century about halfway through the reign of Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman). Her childhood friend Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) holds all the major roles in the royal household and has a lot of influence over the policy decisions the Queen makes, especially when the Queen’s failing health and mental state make her less able to govern.
The film begins with Sarah’s cousin, Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) arriving at the palace seeking employment having fallen on hard times due to her father’s gambling. Sarah gives her a job as a scullery maid where she is bullied by the other maids. One night, Abigail tricks the guard to allow her access to the Queen’s bedchamber so she can apply some herbs she has gathered the Queen’s legs to ease a bad attack of gout. Although she is initially punished for this, the remedy works, and she is promoted to Sarah’s assistant, giving her greater access to the Queen. Abigail ingratiates herself to Queen Anne by realising the significance of the 17 rabbits she keeps in her bedchamber and playing with them when Sarah will not. What follows is a power play between the three women, resulting in Abigail poisoning Sarah who then falls from her horse while riding and is injured. This leaves Abigail free reign during which she manages to orchestrate her marriage to Samuel Masham, reinstating herself to the standing she had lost.
The Favourite is a film that left me with more questions at the end than I knew I had at the beginning. It is set during a period of history I knew fairly little about and therefore it was not immediately obvious to me which parts of the film were constructs and which were true. I was surprised to find the bigger storyline was basically true with the politics of the time being accurate. The film was never meant to be completely historically accurate, its conveying a story of female power and influence. I’m not usually a fan of costume dramas but this film didn’t feel like a traditional costume drama: I don’t know if it was because the costumes aren’t authentic, or they don’t speak in a historically accurate manner. Its definitely a marmite film with many people loving it and equal numbers hating it. I would suggest watching it with no preconceived ideas of what will happen. The 3 main leads are brilliantly acted, and I think it’s a shame neither Rachel Weisz or Emma Stone won Oscars despite being nominated. Olivia Coleman’s Oscar is completely deserved as she portrays a complicated and strong woman who experiences periods of ill health flawlessly.
The obvious choice for the yarn for this club would have been something with angora in the blend, however there are many ethical issues surrounding some angora production, I decided to go with a luxury fibre that would have been worn a great deal by Queen Anne and her courtiers – Silk. I have chosen a favourite of many, Selkino, as its blend gives the depth of colour I wanted.
The Bedchamber – The variegated is inspired by the rich gold tones of the decorations of the period which seemed appropriate given how much of the film is set inside, and particularly in the Queen’s Bedchamber. I started with a rich yellow gold base and added in sprinkles of Dark brown to represent the wood panelling and the claustrophobic feeling inside the palace and red to represent the men in the film, often wearing sumptuous red jackets, who were present only occasionally.
Kith & Kin – I wanted semi-solid to represent the relationships in the film. The cousins vying for the Queen’s favour, with no love lost between them; The deep love of the Queen for her childhood friend and confident, Sarah; The growing love of her new friend Abigail; and possibly the saddest feeling in the film of the Queen’s feelings of grief over her 17 lost children.