Monday, May 30, 2016

Love and Friendship

Movie Name: Love & Friendship
Year of Release: 2016
Director: Whit Stillman
Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Chloe Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Tom Bennett, Stephen Fry, James Fleet, Emma Greenwell, Justin Edwards, Lochlann O'Mearain, Jenn Murray, Morfydd Clark, Sophie Radermacher, Jemma Redgrave, Conor MacNeill, Conor Lambert, Kelly Campbell
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Celebrated director Whit Stillman is back, with another successful feature, which premiered to great acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival. The film is an adaptation of Jane Austen's novella "Lady Susan", and follows the intricate events of Lady Susan Vernon's life. Lady Susan is a beautiful and recent widower of meager means, who finds herself at the mercy of living at her brother in law's house after having to leave the house of friends when the gentleman of that said house became enamored of her. Lady Susan is extremely intelligent and tries to ingratiate herself in the favors of her sister in law, so she can extend her stay for as long as she possibly can. She also becomes entangled in a romantic game of flirtation with her sister in law's brother. All the while she's also attempting to marry her daughter. She can only rely on the help of her American friend, Mrs. Johnson, who always provides solace much to her own husband's disapproval.
Whit Stillman has managed to craft a smart adaptation of a Jane Austen novella, on par with what Ang Lee create in 1995 with "Sense and Sensibility". The screenplay is crackling with wit, and finds a perfect actress in Kate Beckinsale to deliver the sharp lines with the right amount of candor, manipulation and humor. The film captures the way women were treated and perceived in society and how they learnt to navigate the limitations of what they could do and expect, particularly when it comes to their financial independence. The film centers on Lady Susan's attempts to find financial stability for herself and her daughter, using her wit, tact and beauty, but also allows for the supporting characters to have enough bandwidth to be comedic and have a point of view. The supporting actors are well cast, particularly Chloe Sevigny and Tom Bennett, both of whom provide ample support to the fantastic Kate Beckinsale. A good film worth watching.