Solo and The Favourite

I finally watched Solo: A Star Wars Story last night, and I’m utterly annoyed that I didn’t go see it in the theater. I had avoided it because

  1. General disappointment in the direction taken in The Last Jedi
  2. Not really feeling the need to have Han Solo’s background story fed to me with a spoon

That it was somewhat acclaimed critically but considered a failure at the box office didn’t help lure me, either. However, I watched the thing this past weekend, and it’s good! It hits your fan service bone just enough, it offers a fine story with familiar elements, and it manages to be a groovy heist pic as well. It’s so enjoyable, I’ve already made plans to watch it with Dear Old Dad this weekend. Yes, I shall watch it again.

We also managed to trek out to see The Favourite. This is a period piece in the court of Queen Anne, who ruled from 1702 to 1714. Here. I cribbed this bit of history from the Vox review (cuz Dad and I were wondering…):

Anne was queen when the Acts of Union were signed and England and Scotland were united to form Great Britain. She also ruled during the War of the Spanish Succession, and waged war with France in North America for control of the continent, in what would become known as Queen Anne’s War.

Not that this is what the film is about. No, The Favourite is a power struggle, and it is, above all, Breaking Bad set to Bach. Mr. Chips to Scarface. It incorporates ribald and often dark comedy and employs it effectively.

It also has a final scene that might be offputting. I’ve seen commented that the ending felt incomplete. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The symbolism used here isn’t hinting anything, and I’d like to take a moment to perhaps clarify.

Spoiler ahead. You’ve been warned. Don’t read any further if you don’t want to know how The Favourite ends.

Abigail in one moment feels buoyed, triumphant, powerful, and, sadly, cruel. She sets her foot upon one of the Queen’s rabbits, threatening its suffocation.

In a few moments, she finds herself kneeling beneath Queen Anne, providing her relief while the Queen is fully leaning upon Abigail. This is the last scene of the film. This is how it ends.

Many might find this ending unsettlingly murky. However, this ending offers a meaning I found to be crystal clear: Abigail is trapped. She is as trapped as one of the Queen’s rabbits and will similarly spend the rest of her life caged. Just as she held that bunny under her foot, she is to be held underfoot of the Queen. The power and the freedom she felt she’d achieved were illusory.

It’s bleak, but it’s all there.

Hope that helps.

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