I’m the type of person who has plenty of opinions about the people that Taylor Swift has dated. John Mayer? Big mistake. Jake Gyllenhaal? Amazing pairing, sad it ended, at least we got the best song of her career (“All Too Well”) out of it. Joe Jonas? The one that got away, in my humble opinion. But Joe Alwyn? Whatever. I surprised myself by having no opinion about them as a duo.
That is, of course, until last Wednesday, when I attended an advanced screening of The Favourite. It was a cold, windy day when I entered the midtown theater with nary a thought in my head about Joe Alwyn (besides the fact that “Delicate” is a pretty good song, but honestly I prefer “Getaway Car,” which I believe to be about Tom Hiddleston). But 121 minutes later, I walked out a new woman. Reader, now that I’ve seen The Favourite, I get Joe Alwyn. And I have a lot of opinions.
This may be a fault of my own; to be fair, I have never seen any other Joe Alwyn film, despite the fact that he is in an astonishing four films this fall (as if I was going watch Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk when I still haven’t even watched Killing Eve). But now that I have seen that flaxen-haired Brit displayed at 20 feet, my world has changed, and it may never be the same.
For those of you confused by the film’s premise—Emma Stone, who is actually in the movie, was, as well, so you’d be forgiven—The Favourite follows Olivia Colman as Queen Anne, while her loyal long-term confidante Anne Churchill, played by Rachel Weisz, and her cousin Abigail Hill (Stone) enter a bitter, and quite funny, rivalry to become the Queen’s, yes, favorite. Make no mistake—this is the actresses’ film; Stone, Colman, and Weisz all give stunning performances that carry the film and will likely be widely lauded come awards season. But we are not here to talk about them right now. This is Joe Alwyn’s moment.
In the film, the 27-year-old actor has a small but riotous role as Samuel Masham, a nobleman who finds himself infatuated with Stone’s character, which leads to some light stalking and several failed attempts at seduction. Masham is by no means the main character of the film (he’s not even the film’s main male tertiary character; that honor goes to Nicholas Hoult, who is hilarious in his own role), but there is so much to love about him.
Much has been made of Alwyn’s boy-next-door-meets-movie-star-hearthrob looks (see: “Gorgeous,” a song Swift literally wrote about how gorgeous he is), but in The Favourite, he’s not afraid to look downright silly. For much the film, he wears a period-appropriate long, curly wig and plenty of rouge on his cheeks (he still looks pretty gorgeous, if we’re being honest). But it’s in a scene about one third into the movie, just as the film’s major reveal is about to be seen, that Alwyn will officially win you over. At a court dance, Weisz’s very proper Churchill chooses Marsham to be her dance partner. What happens next is not the polite, gentle swaying you’d see in a typical period piece. No, Weisz and Alwyn break out into a truly stunning and rather uninhabited dance routine that involves high-kicks, full-body shimmies, and groin-thrusts more befitting of a ‘90s boy-bander than a nobleman of the court.
But that’s not all; there’s another bit of physical humor, involving his first romantic rendezvous with Stone, and, well, a very, very good dick joke. I’ll say it: Joe Alwyn has comedy chops. So, if you, too, were not yet a Alwyn-ac—a new standom for which I am now a card-carrying member—I suggest you drop what you’re doing and head to your nearest theater. You’re sick of your family by now, anyway. And, hey, while you’re at it, maybe it’s time to give “King of My Heart” another chance.