Love & Friendship Movie Review
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It seems like forever and always, human beings have been intrigued by the woes of the rich and famous, Love & Friendship showcases such woes, it just happens to take place a few centuries ago. Based off of the novella Lady Susan by Jane Austen, Love & Friendship is perfect for a new generation of historical fiction lovers. This brand of historical fiction allows for the viewer to taste the Gossip Girl/90210/entitled lifestyle of 1790’s England.
Lady Susan, played by Kate Beckinsdale, is manipulative, cunning, and witty. As a new widow, Lady Susan Vernon moves in with her sister in law as she has no money. The plan is not to remain there long, however, because Lady Susan is on the prowl for a new husband. Without a penny to her name, all Lady Susan has is her wit, looks, predatory air, and her reputation. Having already left a well renowned man in her wake, Susan is in pursuit of her next potential spouse.
Alicia Johnson (Chloë Sevigny) acts as Kate’s American confidant (funny because Chloë is actually British) through all of her devious schemes. The dialogue although dated in speak, has a rhythm that is fun to follow. Lady Susan is always a step ahead of her “mark” if you will, having an excuse or answer even when she gets caught. When she sets her sight on her sister-in-law’s brother, Reginald (Xavier Samuel), Catherine (Emma Greenwell) is none too pleased.
Lady Susan’s sister-in-law is suspicious right from the start but is delighted when Lady Susan’s daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark) moves in with them. Quite the opposite of her mother, Frederica is mostly shy and quiet. Lady Susan takes it upon herself to find a husband; the results are amusing to say the least.
Susan is certainly not the heroine (perhaps Frederica is, but the story is not from her point of view); she’s more of the villain although you might also find yourself rooting for her.
The banter is grade-A , the scenery is extraordinary which is as to be expected, and the plot is cheeky in an almost un-Austen like way. This might be to the delight of some who are used to the same old, same old. I found Love & Friendship refreshing (this is not an easy genre to “refresh”) to not use the usual formulaic script and characters. The typical Austen-type characters are all but nonexistent and wholly void of both love and friendship. In this case however, it works.