At the close of the 18th century, England is at war with France. Nevertheless, there is plenty of time at the British court of Queen Anne (a fabulous Oscar-winning role by Olivia Colman) to indulge in duck-racing, pigeon-shooting and lobster-eating. The Queen’s health is brittle and she suffers from mood swings. Her gout causes unbearable pain. Loyal support is provided by her friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), who simultaneously influences politics. But then the new maid Abigail (Emma Stone) appears and a deliciously devious power struggle ensues between Queen Anne’s two favorites.
Absurdist Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) interprets history freely. There are plenty of powdered wigs, pouts and beautiful gowns in this costume drama, but it’s far from entirely historically correct. At the same time, Lanthimos reveals the machinations behind the royal scenes more honestly than ever before. The eternal struggle for power and influence, the fawning over the Queen, strategic marriages, and illicit sex: it’s all there. That and profanity-laced language concerning female genitalia and a lot of blue cakes.