So who was the heroine?


At first it seemed to be Sarah, who was just trying to rule the kingdom and fight off the competition.

But...

I think Sarah was actually the villainess of the piece. She bullied the queen into imbecility and left her nothing to do with her time but be miserable, and she was a crap warmongering tax-happy ruler. But of course Abigail was a little monster and couldn't be the heroine... I think at the end of the piece Queen Anne herself was the heroine, she'd gotten rid of her horrible bully of a friend, gotten the whip hand on her dreadful replacement, and was finally ruling in her own right. I don't know if that makes for a satisfying film, although maybe it will be when I watch it again.

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Anne seemed completely addled at the end (and her last line was slurred/incomprehensible) so I don't agree that she's got the 'whip-hand' over anyone. Although further viewings will be necessary to be sure I thought that she was just as drained and stupid and helpless as ever but now she'd additionally been broken - language is now beyond her - by realizing that her life was a loveless lie.

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Anne wasnt addled at the end, she'd had a stroke that left her left arm and the left half of her face paralyzed, and the left leg weak. Her mind was perfectly intact and on board, and she was using her intelligence for the first time in years.

And no, there was no mention of the stroke in the script, Olivia Colman just mimicked the symptoms with uncanny accuracy.

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And no, there was no mention of the stroke in the script, Olivia Colman just mimicked the symptoms with uncanny accuracy.
OK, maybe that was intended. I'd say, however, that someone having the first of probably many strokes is in no position of power. Anne can (for now) make Abigail rub her legs or masturbate her but her maid has the power of life or death over her and her rabbits (and like Sarah before her runs the court for her invalid, infant queen - Whiggishly rather than Tory-centrically because those are Abig's preferences & connections - either way the Queen has no more real say or impact on or understanding of events than one of her rabbits). What I tentatively interpret as Anne's joyless masturbatory reverie about her rabbits is akin to Diane's sad, masturbatory reveries about Betty & Rita in Mull Dr..

BTW, reading around I gather that Anne's last line wasn't impenetrable to everyone. It's 'I need to hold on to something' (as she grabs for Abigail's head/hair).

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I never took it there was a heroine or even hero. Just a lot of people jostling for their own gain.

Anne is to be pitied if anything. She didn't have the capability to be Queen. But out of Abigail and Sarah, Sarah actually seems to have some sort of care for Anne as a person even with her wanting to cling to position, where as Abigail just seems to see Anne as a way to position

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I never took it there was a heroine
I agree. Ditto 'protagonist', 'antagonist'; completely unilluminating in this case. Somewhat relatedly, breaking The Favourite down into leads (Colman) and supports (Weisz, Stone) as the GGs have and as The Oscars threaten to do is artificial at best, absurd at worst (I'm pretty sure that W&S both have more lines and more screen-time than C.).

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