Love and Friendship

Out Now On-Demand

Costume comedy from filmmaker Whit Stillman (Last Days of Disco), based on Jane Austen's Lady Susan, starring Chloë Sevigny, Kate Beckinsale and Stephen Fry.

Set in the opulent drawing rooms of 18th century English society, Love and Friendship focuses on the machinations of a beautiful widow, Lady Susan Vernon (Beckinsale), who, while waiting for social chatter about a personal indiscretion to pass, takes up temporary residence at her in-laws' estate. While there, the intelligent, flirtatious, and amusingly egotistical Lady Vernon is determined to be a matchmaker for her daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark, The Falling) - and herself too, naturally. She enlists the assistance of her old friend Alicia (Sevigny), but two particularly handsome suitors complicate her orchestrations.

Trailers

Directed by

  • Whit Stillman('Damsels in Distress', 'Metropolitan', 'The Last Days of Disco')

Written by

Drama, Romance, Festival & Independent

93mins

Rating: G

Ireland, Netherlands, France, USA

Official Site

Whit Stillman’s films to date have been populated by measured, mannered, often upper class folks jostling for position as they climb the rungs of society. Withering looks, poisonous tongues, expert manipulation and brutal betrayal propel efforts such as The Last Days of Disco, so it comes as little surprise that Stillman proves adept at a comic Jane Austen adaptation here with Love & Friendship.

After her turn as a captivatingly awful human being to watch in Last Days, Kate Beckinsale’s casting here is inescapably, wonderfully, similar. As Lady Susan, she’s all about preserving outward appearances while bending others to her will, secretly breaking the rules of social convention as she simultaneously uses them to manipulate events to her satisfaction.

While the plot may hinge on sex, romance, and marriage, there’s precious little of it on screen. Instead of the longing glances, blossoming of true love, and its consummation that one may expect, Stillman elects to focus on whip-smart dialogue, and the Machiavellian manoeuvrings of Lady Susan. Barely a line of her dialogue doesn’t bring a chuckle, be it through a backhanded compliment, cutting remark, or bold untruth. While my chuckle count may have reached into the dozens, this is absolutely not a belly laugh picture (though the same can also be said of some recent contemporary comedies).

While it might not boast wonderful cinematography or signs of an extravagant budget, Love & Friendship is nevertheless a welcome departure from generic period adaptations. Beyond Beckinsale, there’s an excellent cast including her Last Days co-star Chloë Sevigny and hilariously gormless Tom Bennett, whose character Sir James Martin is one of the most amusingly dimwitted screen characters for a while. Stillman, Beckinsale, and Austen really share the honours here, though, in this witty, watchable, film.

Empire (UK)

press

The funniest, most deliciously venomous Jane Austen movie ever made...

Telegraph (UK)

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It’s flat-out hilarious – find me a funnier screen stab at Austen, and I’m tempted to offer your money back personally.

Variety (USA)

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[Stillman] takes the inherent sophistication of Austen’s worldview and introduces just the right note of sly, self-deflating mockery.

Time Out New York

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Beckinsale and Stillman do their inspiration proud: Finally, a Jane Austen movie that's fresh and deliciously rotten at the same time.

Guardian (UK)

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Beckinsale is a hoot to watch as a character with no redeemable qualities, except for her cunning ability to get what she wants.

Hollywood Reporter

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Remains buoyant through most of its short running time but lacks the stirring emotional hooks found in the best Austen works, on the page as well as the screen.

Rolling Stone (USA)

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I can't think of a more wickedly modern romantic comedy.

New York Times

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It's the Whit Stillman movie that some of us have been waiting a long time for, and also a Jane Austen movie that goes some way toward correcting the record of dull and dutiful cinematic Janeism.

Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)

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This witty black comedy of manners and machinations feels like it has more in common with the works of Oscar Wilde and Wes Anderson than Sense & Sensibility.

Very Amusing

Found this movie to be witty and charming and very in keeping with Austen humour. Kate Beckinsale and the other cast were great and I did love the on screen introductory descriptions of characters


Posh British people are funny

I did enjoy this movie, mainly for the way everyone was so proper! And how Lady Susan was so scandalous! Good for fans of period dramas and Jane Austen.


Fun!

Not everyone will love it, but I did! It was funny, light, entertaining and silly.


Slow start but an enjoyable period comedy

After an initial slow start this period costume drama comedy attracted my attention. Wonderful use of English language, period custome and architecture. A nice change and yet another look at a Jane Austin type story. 3 stars Recommended!!


High on Setting-Low on Story

Reviews were great and so too was the setting and period costumes. Story was very weak and the movie just finished. Kate Beckindale was very central to the quality of this uneventful movie. It just was not exciting at all.


Funny and Entertaining!

LOVED this movie. Such a change from the general run of the mill violent sex filled movies that are on . Costumes and scenery were great.


Made my mum fall asleep!

This movie was something I was thoroughly looking forward to, it had great reviews, and the trailer looked promising, unfortunately I felt very let down. I came away from the movie feeling quite unsatisfied. I wasn't even really sure what was happening in some parts, as the conversations were quite hard to follow, and I left the movie theater very much doubting my intelligence! I will however say that the acting was superb, and I spent a great deal of time admiring all the gorgeous costumes (especially the beautiful red dress Kate wore) the scenery was also so beautiful so in that wat I found the movie interesting. Story-line not so much and for that I give it a 3/5 :)


It wasn't Love Actually but ...

... the characters were fully developed, full of their era & funny!!

Maybe it was Love Actually, only Jane Austen style??

I good British period RomCom - great cast


Not my Cup of Tea...

Thanks for the free tickets but sorry would not recommend to any of my friends as I found it really boring with a predicable story line


Meh

The highlight for me was the goofy guy that wanted to marry Lady Susan's daughter.