Love & Friendship

(2016)

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Title:
Love & Friendship
Release Date:
3rd June 2016
Runtime:
94 min
MPAA Rating:
PG
Genres:
Directors:
Whit Stillman
Writers:
Jane Austen, Whit Stillman
Languages:
English
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p

Storyline

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.

Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 99%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 67%
IMDb Rating 7.0

Casts

Jenn Murray as Lady Lucy Manwaring
Kate Beckinsale as Lady Susan Vernon
Lochlann O'Mearain as Lord Manwaring
Morfydd Clark as Frederica Vernon
Tom Bennett as Sir James Martin

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by IDBmmcjwo 3rd June, 2016

Was this an improvement on

Perhaps this is a movie that only Jane Austen fans can love. I like Jane Austen but I don't like this movie. The non-acting aspects of the movie were superb, and the acting overall was fine. My problems with the movie is the story itself and the director's lack of imagination with it. The movie reflects that, as an early work of Jane Austen, it was not very sophisticated. The writing and directing did not improve on it. In effect, the movie was built on a series of tedious soliloquies by Lady Susan. The only suspense was provided by not knowing which plot elements were real or Lady Susan's fabricated illusions. After a while I realized that I was giving too much benefit to Lady Susan for fabricating illusions. She was clever but not that clever. Her cunning strategies--and the plot--mostly had a short-term horizon that never extended past the next scene. I want to find the book and read it because I can't believe that it had some of the serious defects that the film showed. Most notably, what has been a friendly relation abruptly transformed to a discussion of marriage. I thought I had missed some bridging aspect of the dialogue but checked with my companions after the movie and they had been mystified too. I have a sense that a bridging scene was left on the editing room floor and no one noticed the abrupt change of pace. The conclusion of the movie came too suddenly. Just was it seemed there would be another act, the house lights came on and the movie was over. I got the sense that Jane Austen ran out of ideas for the story, perhaps got bored with it, and so quickly tied up the loose ends. To restate, the non-acting aspects of the movie were superb, and the acting itself was fine, per se. Perhaps there wasn't much material for a great movie in the original Jane Austen work, but the movie I saw could have been a lot better. I think the directing killed the potential for great acting and killed movie overall.

Reviewed by khanthant 1st June, 2016

Weakly done

Here's my beef with Love and Friendship. They told the story. Emphasis on told. Not sure if they didn't know how to build the character backgrounds and cultural implications into an hour and a half-ish flick or what. It's like they assumed you understood some things but, needed to explain the bulk of the story via Lady Susan. Instead of building the story via scenes and acting and playing out the idea and letting the audience think and work out the connections....leave a little to figure out if you got it right or not, Beckinsale's character basically narrarated everything that was going on. As we walked out, I said to my wife, Downton Abbey left a pretty high bar for period pieces. The Jane Austin story of relationships and status and morality was interesting enough. The presentation just plain left it all in the book. You read a book, and you know you're reading a book. Director Stillman just had the book read to us by actors. It wasn't as interesting as that may sound either. I don't know if it was budget over directing but, this was a disappointing movie-fication of a book. Even the period environment was stumbling and stiff. Oh yeah, a hand maiden should do this. Oh yeah, the footman or, doorman or butler would do this. It came across as a poorly staged amateur play, where there was no fluidity. Other reviews said you'd be laughing out loud. Maybe a few snickers and giggles. I was glad it was only 90-ish minutes. If you're coming to this because Downton Abbey made you a fan of that period of England, I'm sorry to tell you, you won't be satisfied by Love and Friendship.

Reviewed by GManfred 14th May, 2016

Mild Mannered Comedy

"Love And Friendship" is not classified as a comedy but that's the only way it succeeds. Our website calls it a drama/romance but those labels don't capture the essence of Jane Austen's late 18th century novella, gorgeously filmed and impeccably acted by a predominantly British cast. In a nutshell; Lady Susan is recently widowed and now relies on the kindness of friends and relatives for shelter as she is very short of money. So she bounces from estate to estate endearing herself to the menfolk and is notorious among the ladies. Lady Susan is very beautiful and flirtatious; a husband is needed to achieve stability as well as position, not to mention a reliable source of income (We have to infer much of this information from the plot; Lady Susan is not a flamboyant character, like Auntie Mame). "Love And Friendship" sports first class production values as well as a sophisticated literary background. Kate Beckinsale is good as Lady Susan and the rest of the cast is even better. Midway through the film gets a needed boost from Tom Bennett, who plays the oafish Sir James Martin. He is an oasis in the midst of the arid screenplay, which cries for more of his bumbling presence. This is a movie for grownups in a landscape festooned with juvenile entertainment. It is difficult to find fault with any part of this handsomely mounted production which is graced by Jane Austen's relentlessly clever dialogue and the skilled direction of Whit Stillman ("Metropolitan", "The Last Days Of Disco"). Well done all around despite the bland storyline.

Reviewed by David Ferguson ([email protected]) 12th May, 2016

Austen rocks

Greetings again from the darkness. Jane Austen ROCKS! Sure, that might be a slightly exaggerated description of the writer who passed away almost two hundred years ago, and is known for such subtle and nuanced work as "Sense and Sensibility" and "Emma". But it's difficult to argue the fact that Ms. Austen's 2016 is off to an impressive start. First came Burr Steers' highly creative and entertaining "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies", and now Whit Stillman delivers a cracking version of her (apparently) unfinished novella "Lady Susan". Thanks to the standout performance from Kate Beckinsale, and the manner in which words from Austen and Stillman go zipping by (sometimes honestly, sometimes not), this is one fun and briskly-paced romp … more descriptions not typically associated with the prim Ms. Austen. Ms. Beckinsale as Lady Susan Vernon flashes spunk and comedic timing that we have not previously seen from her. She fits marvelously in the dress of the late 1700's, while packing a diabolical and manipulative nature more often displayed in contemporary settings. The supporting cast seems to be having a marvelous time. Chloe Sevigny is Alicia, Lady Susan's confidant and gossip buddy … and one whose husband (Stephen Fry) continually threatens to ship back to Connecticut (as if it were the coal mines or outback). Emma Greenwell is Catherine DeCourcy Vernon, adversary and sister-in-law to Lady Susan, and Mofryd Clark plays Frederica, Susan's somewhat mousy and inconvenient daughter. Though the women are standouts here, the men hold their own. Xavier Samuel is Reginald DeCourcy, the somewhat naive and susceptible-to-advances-from-Susan young man, and Tom Bennett manages to steal most every scene as the quite silly and funny (and wealthy) Sir James Martin. Adding their own special touches are James Fleet and Jemma Redgrave as Sir Reginald DeCourcy and Lady DeCourcy, respectively; and Jenn Murray as Lord Manwaring … one of three suitors to Lady Susan. This spoof/parody will strike a chord for anyone accustomed to the uptight nature of most period pieces, as well as the importance of status, decorum and the corresponding insecurities (a weakness the cunning Lady Susan will most certainly seize upon). Mr. Stillman (Damsels in Distress, The Last Days of Disco) is an immensely talented writer, and certainly a welcome complement Ms. Austen's posthumously published work. It's a deliciously funny and intricate story that features such quips of gold as "Facts are horrible things." Welcome to the zany verbal barrages of Lady Susan, Whit Stillman and Jane Austen. Yep … zany and Jane Austen in the same sentence. I told you she ROCKS!

Reviewed by IDwasTaken 28th January, 2016

The best thing you can ask for in a movie is to be left wanting more

This is one of the few films I have seen where I was left wanting more. There were non stop laughs, funny sight gags and wonderful actors. It was wonderful to see Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny back together as well. Tom Bennett is truly a joy to watch and steals all of the scenes he is in. The costumes, sets, and acting are all top rate. The script, pacing and direction all make the movie flow at a fast pace. I was never bored and at the end of the film, I was left wanting more. This is one of the greatest compliments I can give to a film. Time does fly when you watch this film and feel free to laugh out loud when you watch it. Everyone else will be. Ten out of ten