Love and Friendship (2016)

love-and-friendship-poster3In November, our film is Love and Friendship. This will be screened on November 18th at the Memorial Hall. Please click here to find out how to purchase tickets.

A pitch-perfect black comedy. What’s to be said? Every aspect of the film is immaculate—the brisk editing, sparkling script, gorgeous costumes, twisted plot, evocative music and splendid performances. Kate Beckinsale is delicious as Lady Susan, with the cold self-command and upturned lip of the accomplished Regency villain. Never was wrongdoing so likable. Tom Bennett makes a splendidly idiotic Sir James Martin, whose perfectly-timed cloth-brained monologues are some of the movie’s most delightful moments. But really Whit Stillman has found the best in all his actors, and every scene is a little masterpiece.

“Lady Susan” is the least well known of Austen’s novels, and I’ve never understood why. It has all the acid of Austen’s best satire, all the wit of her best dialogue and all the clarity of her best prose. It is the only novel of hers whose protagonist is a villain, and Lady Susan is one of the most wonderful villains in English literature, as attractive as she is dangerous, and as likable as she is cold. It is also Austen’s only epistolary novel, and Stillman should be credited for turning a novel of letters into a film of such grace and poise.

This is an extravagant movie. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it, and its acidic representation of society’s elites could not fit better with the cynical mood of the present times.

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