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.
At one point, one of the female characters complains that her husband is "not old enough to die soon", thereby letting her become a wealthy widow. However, her husband in the film is quite old for the time, appearing to be in his 60's. The average life expectancy in the period of 1750-1800 was only 35 years old. The wealthy lived longer, of course, but one was still not expected to live past 50 years of age at the time. See more »
Lady Susan Vernon:
Ah, mortality. Our mortality and that of others, but most particularly our own, is the hardest and most intractable hand life can deal us.
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At the conclusion of the end credits, there is a line encouraging viewers to read the novel, "in which Lady Susan Vernon is thoroughly vindicated." See more »
"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.
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