The Favourite Ending Explained: How Did This Satiric Comedy End?

Published Categorized as Movies No Comments on The Favourite Ending Explained: How Did This Satiric Comedy End?
The Favourite Movie Poster
The Favourite 2018 Movie Poster (Credit: Amazon Prime Video)

On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to watch a period movie? Now keep that score in mind, and let’s move forward to see an amazing and mindboggling period movie that left people with so many questions and an odd feeling that cannot be defined in words. It is just a looming sadness and a huge “SERIOUSLY?!”.

From the description, it could be any one movie from the famous writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos, but the one we are talking about today is ‘The Favourite,’ an Irish-American-British production movie directed by Lanthimos that revolves around a period of time in the early 1700s when Queen Anne is seen reigning as a Queen while Britain is in a war with France and the need for power and control over one another was high. The early 18th Century and of itself is known for being the time when people would be doing anything to gain power; well, that continues throughout the timeline and into the 21st Century, but that discussion is for a later date. 

Having power gives you an upper hand like nothing else, and who does not want power in their hands enough to be ruling over the underdogs and the less powerful ones? What better way to gain power than by becoming a Queen’s favourite? Taking the movie title for its literal meaning, ‘The Favourite’ is a movie where two people are seen fighting for the Queen’s attention so that they can have the benefits that come with it, the responsibilities and positions of power along with the large numbers of gifts given with an open heart.

This seems like a serious topic to cover, though, with the whole politics and historically significant vents that have been laid down hundreds of years ago, it can get a bit boring and seem like a history lesson or documentary rather than a movie that you can relate to. But this is where the screenplay writers Tony McNamara and Deborah Davis, along with director Yorgos Lanthimos work their magic. 

The Queen
The Queen in the movie ‘The Favourite’ (Source: Film4 Production)

There are serious topics being covered in the movie, but captivating moments of dark humour are present in the tale that makes the whole thing seem light-hearted on the bar handles, keeping the humour and the anticipation up without making it seem too serious and neither letting people forget the severity of the situation.

The factor that the actors in the movie did a commendable job working and portraying the characters with great flair was just the mix needed to make the movie a hit! We have three female actors in the lead roles of Sarah Churchill, Abigail Masham, and Queen Anne, played by Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, and Olivia Colman, respectively. All the actors in this movie are claimed and awarded for the brilliant role they played in the movie.   

It is interesting indeed to see the historically significant parts maintained in the movie, as the critics and historians have confirmed, but parts have been changed according to what might be essential to the storyline too. Making the story alluring and keeping the audience on the edge of their seats was an achievement easily unlocked. 

Plot Line of ‘The Favourite’ Explained

Before getting to the ending of the movie, it is essential to understand the plotline of the movie and how it unfolded itself. We have Queen Anne in the movie, who reigns over Britain, set in the early 1700s. This period movie shows us a time when Britain was amidst a war with France; the stakes were high, and so were the politics.

There was not one person who wasn’t trying their chances and their absolute best to gain power and control. But this was all political; there was a storm that had broken free even in the Queen’s personal life; she had finally given in to the years of torment she faced having lost small parts of her with her kids.

The final straw came after the death of her husband though, Prince George of Denmark. Throughout the time, Queen Anne fell sick and strained herself mentally and physically. The only aid she had was her childhood friend Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough. 

Sarah in The Favourite
Sarah in the movie The Favourite (Credit: Film4 Production)

There were not a lot of people the Queen trusted, but Sarah was her main source of trust. Sarah had her own title and riches, but being the Queen’s favourite was one she carried with the most pride. She was devoted to the Quen and to the country that she served. Her husband was the main caption for the British Army that was fighting against the French army.

There were a lot of rights and positions that were assigned to Sarah by the Queen, too, which usually would not be assigned to women, and the indirect power Sarah had on state affairs was also significant because of the blind trust the Queen had in her. The relationship shared between Sarah and the Queen, though, was briefly shown in the movie before another character came in and started increasing the distance between the two women.

So, who was the one who came between the two women? It was another woman by the name of Abigail Masham who tried to do so. Abigail had lost her title and riches a long time ago, but she was done living as an underdog and wanted the control and money back that could be earned by power only. That power she could gain by becoming the Queen’s favourite and earning the benefits of being one.

Abigail entered the castle on the pretext of finding some work in the court to escape from the life she was living right now. She entered the court in the year 1704 and decided to go all in and take the position of the Queen’s favourite even though she would have to ruin her cousin’s sister Sarah for that. 

Abigail in the movir 'The Favourite'
Abigail in the movie The Favourite (Credit: Film4 Production)

There was no measure she did not use to get what she wanted. Towards the start, her tragic story of life makes the audience believe in her and want her to succeed in the battle of sorts that had broken down between the two women, Sarah and Abigail, to be the Queen’s favourite. The nature of the two of them played a huge role in the battle too. Sarah was a more direct personality and was seen to be cruel in her ways and interactions with the Queen at times.

There was love and deep friendship beneath the curt responses that Srah filed at the Queen, though, caring for her and helping her by making all the harder decisions, aiding the Queen while she battled her own health concerns. Taking an instance to understand Sarah better, the Queen had lost 17 of her children throughout her lifetime, and as a memory for each of her children, she had a rabbit that she took care of. Sarah never really understood her sentiments behind this and would say rude about her actions, while towards the start, Abigail seemed to understand exactly what the Queen was going through. 

At least she pretended that she understood because as the movie went on we, it became clear that Abigail was not a damsel in distress or a pure character as it appeared in the start, but actually was much smarter than that and would go to the extent to manipulate others, along with a court man to get what she wants. As the movie is seen approaching its end, things are only getting more grime. 

The Ending of ‘The Favourite’ Explained

As the movie progresses, there are a lot of changes that have occurred in the relationship dynamics of the three women in the movie, The Queen, Sarah, and Abigail. Abigail has successfully made a place for herself in the heart of the Queen, be it by manipulation or by acting sweeter towards her than Sarah ever did.

Abigail got what she really wanted, and also the positions that Sarah previously held, even the ‘Keeper of the Privy Purse.’ The progress made was eventual rather than something that happened instantly or over a few days. It was a long and slow plan, a complete slow burn that led to the position Abigail was in right now. It can be seen in the movie that though Abigail used deceit and manipulation tactics to get where she did with the Queen, it was only possible because there were differences between the Queen and Sarah that already existed. 

Sarah and the Queen in the movie 'The Favourite'
Sarah and the Queen in the movie ‘The Favourite’ (Credit: Film4 Production)

Had there not been differences between the two, Abigail might not have been easily able to deepen the differences between them. Sarah’s blunt attitude and the Queen’s sensitive state that she was in aided Abigail in achieving the plans. Throughout the movie, Abigail acts as a completely good girl in front of the Queen, never letting her know about her true colours or manipulative tactics, being the best advisor and Queen’s favourite so naturally that there is no reason to suspect her.

There were times obviously when the Queen had her doubts, but not the mental energy to deal with it either. The Queen especially doubted Abigail when she said that Sarah was working against the state and was planning on bringing the state to doom. This really infuriated the Queen, and they said that Sarah could never do something like this. 

Things grew tense when, during one of her long-term leaves that Sarah had taken, constant pestering from Abigail and no point of contact from Sarah was really making the Queen want to believe that Sarah was indeed doing something wrong and trying to harm the state and the crown. The truth, though, was that Abigail had poisoned Sarah, and that was the reason for her long absence.

Even during this time, Sarah had tried to reach out to the Queen to try to improve their personal relationship by writing a letter. But all in vain, as Abigail had intercepted the letter and destroyed it before the Queen could know anything about it. The Queen then went on to banish Sarah from the country and away from her eyes. 

Rabbit Scene
Abigail steps on the Rabbit Scene (Credit: Film4 Production)

Abigail was officially successful in doing exactly what she wanted to and was now the Queen’s favourite, but this time of luxury did not last long. The luxury was making Abigail heady, and all she wanted to do was enjoy what she had now. This exactly made her commit the very mistake that would make her current situation a living hell for her.

Abigail, during one instance, could be seen trying to crush one of the Queen’s rabbits under her foot, signifying just what kind of a person she actually was. The Queen saw all of this unfold and knew just what a good ‘friend’ Abigail was to her, showing her exact true colors to the Queen. There was finally a huge crack in the image the Queen held of Abigail. In the ending scene, we see how the Queen puts her foot on Abigail while she asks Abigail to massage her legs, signifying that the Queen knew exactly what Abigail had done and that she was now a slave, clearly highlighting the power dynamics here. 

There are serious topics being covered in the movie. The whole movie is set to focus more on the women’s lives and how their interactions with one another turned out over the course of time, putting such an inside-the-house mundane topic and converting it into a critically appreciated and valued movie even after almost six years down the line is a hard thing to achieve.

It cannot be a movie created by Yorgos Lanthimos without it not making sense, though, without the scenes being so complicated and folded within themselves that one loses track and is just sitting there in a confused mess. That happened with this movie, too, and as the credits started rolling, the feeling of “oh no, it is indeed ending” took over, but the what and even how are not understood. 

How did the audience like the movie ‘The Favourite’?

Driving conclusions isn’t one of Yorgos Lanthimos’s strengths. As said by the fan base, there are a lot of people who love the movies directed, created, and written by Lanthimos, but the constant criticism stays that the endings aren’t satisfying.

That it is fine not to get all aspects of a movie because they are layered and deep within the history with period dramas, but to not be able to understand or be satisfied with the ending given to them as it only leaves them with a gaping hole of either sadness or ambiguity as to what they saw. A good ending is just as important to the movie as the movie, its actors, and the storyline. When the audience does not understand or get even a clear ending, it leaves them dissatisfied almost with the movie. All of these are complaints about the film ‘The Favourite.’

Apart from this, though, the complete movie is itself a masterpiece and is critically acclaimed to be one of the best period dark humour movies to have come out. There is a rating of 93% from the audience as taken from the reviews available, and many people have claimed that the casting choice and their stellar performance was what captivated them throughout the movie, some mentioning the satirical humour, undertones of modernistic thoughts and the complete ambience maintained of that time was commendable too! Many argue that is the best Emma Stone movie to have come. 

This needs your attention now. Toward the start, I asked you to pick a number from 1 to 10 to state how likely you are to watch a period movie. Has the rating increased yet? Maybe it has, maybe it hasn’t. But I am sure this article has left you intrigued. Check the film out, and let me know your scores! I will see you later then. Until then, Namaskar!

Also read: Crackdown Season 2 Ending Explained: Were The Terrorists Seized?

About The Author

  • Utkarsha Pawar

    Hello there, this is Utkarsha here! I am absolutely in love with movies, stories, drama shows, and mangas! All of them teach me something new and help me become a better me everyday, one with the diverse knowledge about everything nice. You can reach out to me for more content at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

17 + twenty =