Anyway, it’s great. It is a story all about women maximising the power available to them in a male-dominated world complete with explicit lesbianism, and everything about the production at every level is superbly well-executed. Olivia Colman deserved her Oscar for how well she acted having had a stroke alone. The moment we saw her, before anyone said or did anything, I recognise straight away what was supposed to have happened. The lighting was also brilliant – one of the most natural-looking depictions of candle-lit interiors I have ever seen, which are very hard to do on film. And Rachel Weisz looked so amazing in her breeches during the shooting scenes, that was worth the entrance price on its own.
As a historian, though, I think the thing I’ll appreciate it for most long-term was its overt creative anachronism, as seen in e.g. many of the clothes, the awesomely-funny dance-off, the music (Baroque Greatest Hits but with a modern twist), etc. No production is ever going to be 100% historically accurate – only actual history was ever that – and attempting to do so can ham-string a good story that would otherwise resonate strongly with its modern audience. So lampshading it by making it clear that for all the truthiness, this isn’t actually the ‘truth’ seems like a good solution. Maybe there’s a general drift in that direction in the creative industries at the moment? It’s certainly what the TV series Britannia has been doing for example. Anyway, I like it and I hope the immense success of this film will encourage more in the same vein.