Lady Susan has a reputation that precedes her. She's a professional flirt who men flock toward. Having lost her husband, Lady Susan is out to find herself a wealthy new groom and one - perhaps slightly less well off - for her daughter who doesn't have her mother's knack for enticing suitors.
When Lady Susan visits the home of her late husband's relatives, it doesn't take long for her to woo a few too many men - both married and single - and the rumour mill is in full swing. Lady Susan knows exactly what she wants in a man but finding someone with the right assets for her and another person for her daughter might just be too much.
Love & Friendship is based on the Jane Austen novella 'Lady Susan' and will be in cinemas from May 2016.
Acclaimed filmmaker Whit Stillman reunites the stars of his 1998 drama The Last Days of Disco, Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, for what might be the most entertaining big-screen Jane Austen adaptation ever. Based on her novella Lady Susan, this is a lacerating social comedy packed with hugely engaging characters. It brilliantly captures Austen's gift for crisply astute comedy, giving everyone in the gifted cast a chance to shine.
Set in 1790s England, the story centres on Lady Susan (Beckinsale), who has been recently widowed and now needs to sort out a hopefully lucrative future. First, she sets out to find a wealthy, dim-witted man to marry her spoiled daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark), and the dorky Sir James (Tom Bennett) is the perfect candidate. For herself, she sets her sights on the gorgeous, gullible Reginald (Xavier Samuel), the younger brother of her sister-in-law Catherine (Emma Greenwell), who's the only person who can see through Susan's scheming. Through all of this, Susan's only confidant is her American friend Alicia (Sevigny), who is sensibly married to an older man (Stephen Fry). And of course, Susan's plans simply refuse to go as she expects.
Beckinsale is terrific in the role as a sexy cougar who keeps all the men around her happy with blatant flattery. She understands the way to a man's heart, and isn't afraid to exploit everyone around her to make sure that she and Frederica are set up for life. Beckinsale gets this balance of charm and contempt exactly right, and her riotously sharp wit easily wins over the audience. The cast around her is just as good, engaging with Susan in fabulous wordplay, unable to resist being manipulated by her charisma. As the two targets of Susan's strategy, Bennett and Samuel are particularly strong. Bennett's bumbling James is simply the funniest thing on-screen this year, while Samuel manages to keep Reginald sweetly charming and never dull.
Continue reading: Love & Friendship Review
Jemma Redgrave - Jemma Redgrave outside ITV Studios - London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 3rd February 2016
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