Love and Friendship looks like a Jane Austen film, when you first glance in its direction. This is largely because it’s based on Lady Susan, Austen’s epistolary novella that you’ve probably only read if you’re a hardcore Austen reader or someone who picked up a volume with a title like “The Complete Works of Jane Austen” that took it’s remit rather seriously.
And because you walk into it thinking its an Austen film, and you know exactly what you’re going to get, Love and Friendship is all kinds of fucking glorious as it starts to fuck with those expectations. It’s incredibly funny without devolving into parody; incredibly engaging, without actually having a sympathetic character; incredibly slippery, in that there are machinations at work throughout the film and you’re never entirely sure of a character’s motivations.
It is a two-hour love-letter to the fact that Austen is incredibly funny, when you read her works, and the film takes it as a personal mission to remind you of that. It is good natured and pitch-perfect and…look, it has Kate Beckinsale in the lead, and she is phenomenal. I spent the whole movie basically going, wait, how did you end up here after Van Helsing? How are you this good? Why the fuck are you following this role with another goddamn Underworld?
And i now want director Whit Stillman to be given the rights to all Georgette Heyer novels, so he can adapt them in this style and just take over the world.
Yes, I am gushing. This movie? God damn I loved this movie. I sat there making heart-eyes at it for two straight hours, then spent the car ride home laughing hysterically every time my passenger repeated a line of dialogue. It is a matter of considerable surprise we did not crash into things.
This film has all the love, from me. Go see it.