Love & Friendship Movie Review

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Set in the 1790s, Love and Friendship centers on beautiful widow Lady Susan Vernon, who has come to the estate of her in-laws to wait out colorful rumors about her dalliances circulating through polite society. Whilst there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and her rather reluctant debutante daughter, Frederica. (Synopsis taken from imdb)

Based on the unfinished epistolary novel, Lady Susan, by Jane Austen.

My friend Hamlette has been hosting an “I <3 Jane Austen” event on her blog this week, and I’m really excited to be able to join in on the Austentatious fun with a movie review of Love & Friendship!

The most recent Jane Austen movie adaptation came out last year, but I wasn’t able to see it until just recently (thank you, Amazon Prime!). Unlike most of the other Jane Austen adaptations I have seen, I did not enjoy Love & Friendship upon first viewing. The main character Lady Susan, played by Kate Beckinsale, is abominable. She’s the exact opposite of the typical heroine you’d expect from Jane Austen. As the movie’s tagline boasts, she’s “opportunistic, devious, shrewd, calculating, cunning, unprincipled.”

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But, I really wanted to like this film regardless of Lady Susan’s character, so I gave it another watch and I’m really glad I did. I enjoyed the movie much more the second time around. The supporting characters are really entertaining, especially James Martin, who is so foolish you can’t help but laugh.

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There are some terrific puns and subtle humor in this movie, and if you don’t pay close attention to the dialogue you’ll miss some really funny lines. Also, the costumes are lovely! One detail I appreciated was how oversized James Martin’s coat buttons were; it fit well with his overall ridiculousness.

As far as Jane Austen adaptations go, Lady Susan is intriguing and humorous, and at times it felt like watching Mansfield Park told through Mary Crawford’s point of view. And just as Ms. Austen would prefer, all the characters get their “comeuppance” and due rewards at the end :) I know the movie is critically acclaimed, but it may take multiple viewings for you to enjoy it. I’m really glad I gave it a second chance because it could easily become the type of movie I quote whenever a subtle sarcastic comment is called for…

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Here’s the trailer!

 Stop by Hamlette’s Soliloquy to discover more I <3 Jane Austen posts!

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6 thoughts on “Love & Friendship Movie Review

  1. Oooooh, this is on Prime Instant Viewing right now? Sweet! I’ll find and add it to my watchlist posthaste. I read Lady Susan a few years ago, but don’t remember it much. However, your idea of this being a bit like Mansfield Park from Mary Crawford’s POV really intrigues me, so I’m definitely going to give this a watch.

    Thanks for contributing to the blog party!

  2. The movie is fast paced, the dialogue is quick, almost indecipherable. On second watching, I found it much easier to follow. It seems to be primarily a portrayal of the flawed character of ego centric Lady Susan, who does much of the narrative. The humor is subtle, often in the bumbling lack of perception of one of the main characters. There is a definite plot and the ending does not disappoint. I’ll be watching this one again.

  3. I’ve been looking forward to watching this for a while, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m glad you reminded me! Even though I read Lady Susan, I really do not remember much of it, so it will be fun to watch a new Austen inspired movie. I’ll keep in mind that I may not like it the first time, but to give it another try anyway! Thank you for sharing!

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