Love and Friendship 2016
Very funny beautifully acted and produced comedy of manners and romantic conspiracies and confusions set in Austenland (Jane Austen that is). Directed by Whit Stillman with his usual jaundiced eye but affection for the upper crust that usually lands on the privileged young lads and ladies of Manhattan in the late 20th Century. Here we are dropped in the 18th Century where we watch the marvelous Kate Beckinsale nicely costumed and coiffed play the mating game for all its worth. At first I was confused, all those characters and plots thrown at us left and right, but I soon relaxed and had a lot of fun with this almost 18th century screwball comedy. Beckinsale is Lady Susan recently windowed and on the dole and make so to speak and looking for a new husband in all the right places not only for herself and also for her smart, lovely and charming daughter who has ideas of her own.
The characters come together meet, mix leave and come together again in a variety of estates, family and otherwise and the witty and biting dialogue never ceases. Played with charm and with many laugh out loud moments by a wonderful cast of British actors many who were unfamiliar to me. Thrown into the mix is the lovely Chloe Sevigny an American who is Lady Susan’s comrade in deviousness who is married to a rich lord who threatens to send her back to Connecticut if she doesn’t end her friendship with Lady Susan. The film is pretty to look at, but not overdone which I think had more to do with budget restrictions than with inspiration. Gossip, secrets revealed, personal letters passed back and forth, servants listening at closed doors and a wacky dance also add to this delightful cool surprise treat for the hot summer months, and who knew that Jane was so damn funny.