I have had a deep affection for Whit Stillman since his Barcelona helped open my eyes to indie cinema in the 90s, and I also love me some Jane Austen (though generally the books far than the movie adaptations). So being able to see Stillman’s take on Austen was a special treat. Based on the novella Lady Susan, which I have not read, Love and Friendship is a far more scabrous and cynical take on the material than one has come to expect over the years.
Kate Beckinsale, somehow simultaneously sexy and matronly, plays the titular lady – a manipulative, lusty, gold-digging widow who creates chaos for her family and acquaintances while trying to make good for herself and her mopey daughter. All this of course provides great opportunity for witty dialogue, beautiful clothing and lengthy conversations on country estates. Tom Bennett is particularly entertaining as a wealthy twit paying suit to both Lady Susan and her daughter. 3 out of 4 stars (Very good).