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Because I am unwilling to pay the admission price at the local cineplex, and because I hate crowds and am annoyed by the popcorn-munching person conducting an inquisition in the row behind me, I don’t watch theatrical movies until they enter my home, usually via HBO, Netflix or Amazon Prime.

This puts me safely out of the hype zone, allowing me to view films with a cooler head than film critics, especially those engaged in a competition to prove how knowledgeable they are about trends and up and coming movie makers.

When “The Favourite” arrived on HBO in August (2019), I watched . . . because Olivia Colman, who won an Oscar for her performance in the film, has been a favorite of mine for several years. I was happy that she was so honored, though after I watched the film, I felt her portrayal of the eccentric English monarch, Queen Anne, was a typical effort, not a performance that could in any way be termed extraordinary.

I’ve long suspected movie critics don’t want enough television. If they did, they’d know Colman could have done Queen Anne in her sleep. The actress herself probably wouldn’t admit it, but her work in the 2009 “Midsomer Murders” episode, “Small Mercies,” and more so in the TV series, “Flowers,” made her such a logical choice to play Queen Anne that I’d be very surprised if anyone else was even considered. All the director had to say was, "Just give me more of that Olivia Colman schtick."

So what is "The Favourite"? Here is the Wikipedia description:

It “is a 2018 period black comedy film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara . . . Set in early 18th century England, the story examines the relationship between two cousins, Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough (played by Rachel Weisz) and Abigail Masham, who later became Baroness Masham (Emma Stone), vying to be court favourites of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman); it is loosely based on historical events.”

I’m not familiar with British history, so I did some reading . . . enough reading to convince me the only thing accurate about the film is that the three characters actually existed. Whether there was a lesbian relationship between the queen and either of her favorites (notice I dropped the unnecessary “u”) is highly unlikely, though thanks to the film, this titillating untruth will find its way into hundreds of online essays about Queen Anne.

One complaint I have about movie reviewers is their comments on performances. Everyone in this film could have phoned it in, and still have been impressive. Rarely these days do you see a jarringly bad performance. The unsung heroes and heroines of movies and television are the casting people. The world is filled with excellent actors; it’s up to the casting directors to find them and put them in talent-appropriate roles. Casting people don’t often make mistakes, and when it appears that they have, the real fault may lie with a producer, director or star who insisted that so-and-so be offered the part.

So everyone who participated on screen in “The Favourite” was great, though I read a few complaints about Emma Stone’s accent, probably from a Brit who won’t forgive the actress for being born in Arizona.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of anything else about “The Favourite” that rose above the level of mediocrity. The cinematography, which drew some raves, was pedestrian, with several annoying bits along the way, as though someone felt we needed to see everything the lens could do.

There were limitations imposed by the locations, Hatfield House in Herfordshire and Hampton Court Palace in Surrey. Thanks to the endless parade of British television programs I’ve seen in recent years — putting “Downtown Abbey” at the head of the class — the sights of “The Favourite” rated a great big eh!

And then there were the sounds, which from time to time gave the impression someone was jumping around on a loud pogo stick or using a leaf blower.

Greek-born director Yorgos Lanthimos was responsible for this mess; at least, I thought it was a mess. The vast majority of movie critics praised Lanthimos and the film; at least two said it was the best film of 2018, which, sadly, it might have been.

Most critics also called it a black comedy, though it wasn’t very comedic, not in an original sense. And while it was set in a different time and place, with a vastly different set of characters, HBO’s “The Wire” covered some of this territory in more creative ways, as did BBC One’s “Last Tango in Halifax,” which features two performers who deserve to be described as “always wonderful,” as Ms. Colman was by one viewer. Those two performers are Sarah Lancashire and Nicola Walker, who have done most of their work in the medium responsible for the best films that have been shown for the last 20-plus years — television. (Likewise check out Lancashire in "Happy Valley" and Walker in "Unforgotten.")

The website rottentomatoes.com, which features audience reviews as well as those written by professional critics, had one person, who defended “The Favourite,” poke fun as the many who didn’t like the film, claiming these people didn’t know what to look for. If they had known, they would have loved the movie.

I disagree, of course. The script, by Tony McNamara and first-timer Deborah Davis didn’t have much of a story and the dialogue contained few lines worth repeating. What we had was a queen in her mid-40s, recently widowed, who had been pregnant no less than 17 times, carrying only five of those babies to full term. Four of them died before reaching their second birthday, a son barely made it to double digits. About the only argument anyone could make for Queen Anne desiring lesbian sex at this point in her life is the protection it offered against becoming pregnant.

But that was a flight of fancy on the part of the writers or Lanthimos, as was the bit about Queen Anne owning a colony of rabbits, and the palace duck races. I suppose these animals may have been metaphors, but if there's one thing I hate in a film, it's a metaphor.

Mind you, I’m still an Olivia Colman fan, but her best work can be viewed on television. There’s “Broadchurch,” of course, but you really ought to watch her in “Flowers.” Her character in that series makes Queen Anne seem perfectly normal.

So what’s my point in writing about a film that was released to theaters so long ago? Maybe I just wanted to vent about critics. Which I’m allowed to do because I was a TV critic for several years, and have come to understand why so many readers thought I was crazy.

I guess another point is you shouldn’t pay attention to critics or to awards, which are often tainted by the politics involved.

Also, to say that if “The Favourite” was one of the best films of 2018, then movies are in worse shape than I thought, confirming what I felt when I sat through most of Daniel Day-Lewis’s 2017 stinker, “Phantom Thread,” which received rave reviews. (During "The Favourite," I also flashed back on the "Seinfeld" episode that poked fun at another film that received kisses from critics — "The English Patient." What a dog that was! "The Favourite" is almost that bad; "Phantom Thread" even worse.)

Finally, a film (and anything else you watch or read for your own entertainment or edification) is only as good as you judge it to be, and your judgment depends a great deal on what you experienced beforehand. When you’ve been watching films for 75 years, your taste is going to be much different from someone who’s been doing it only one-third of that time.

Which may explain my negative reaction. Then, again, maybe it's today's movie reviewers who are out of touch.

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