Love & Friendship

Unbeknownst to me, Jane Austen wrote a little-known novella called "Lady Susan." From that source acclaimed writer/director Whit Stillman ("Damsels in Distress") brings us a PG-rated screenplay that captures Austen's wry wit, her observational humor and her affection for the silly human weaknesses that surrounded her.

Stillman's cast:
  • Kate Beckinsale ("The Disappointments Room") clearly relishes her role as Lady Susan Vernon, smarter by half than the people who toss in her wake, outwitted, outflanked and outmaneuvered. She looks forward to each battle of wits, secure in the knowledge that she will, as usual, prevail.
  • Morfydd Clark ("Pride and Prejudice and Zombies") Lady Susan's daughter Frederica cannot escape the machinations of her mother... although she certainly tries.
  • Tom Bennett (Lots of BBC television) nearly steals the show as Sir James Martin. He makes Mr. Collins in "Pride and Prejudice" look downright intelligent. e.g., Sir James is delighted to learn that Frederica reads both poetry AND verse!
  • ChloĆ« Sevigny ("American Horror Story") Alicia Johnson is Lady Susan's only friend. Her husband keeps threatening to ship her back to Connecticut ("Why my dear, you'll be scalped!")
  • Stephen Frye ("The Man Who Knew Infinity") is her gouty husband Mr. Johnson.
  • Xavier Samuel ("Fury") is the young. naive Reginald DeCourcy. Lady Susan plays him like a ping pong ball, bouncing him up and down even while he thinks it's all his own idea. He never sees any of it coming!
  • James Fleet ("Outlander") is wonderful as his alarmed father Sir Reginald DeCourcy. He is painfully aware of Lady Susan's reputation and intends to protect his family.
The verbiage flies, the sly characterizations zip by and reputations are at stake! This one was suggested to me by the Swedish branch of JayFlix. I obtained the DVD from the city library and am tempted to get my own copy. I have most of Austin's comedies of manners, why not add one that has more comedy than most, and best of all, with wonderful closed captions!

Thank you Sweden!
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Check out this trailer:
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