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Lady Susan: Love and Friendship

Whit Stillman constructs a biting marriage comedy based on Jane Ausen’s early epistolary novel “Lady Susan” with the scheming quick-witten widow Lady Susan, played by Kate Beckinsale, at the center.

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Jane Austen was a smart and biting observer of her time who packed her social criticism into ironically broken romances. Most Austen adaptations focus on the romantic aspects of her novels, but Whit Stillman’s LOVE & FRIENDSHIP dedicates itself to Austen’s comedic side. The film is based on Austen’s early epistolary novel “Lady Susan” which was published posthumously. Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale) is an attractive scheming widow who has marred her reputation within high society and has to stay with relatives in the province for a while because of it. She continues to scheme from there and tries to find a good match for her shy daughter Federica (Morfydd Clark) and find an attractive and/or low maintenance second husband for herself as well. She has set her sights on foolish Sir James Martin (Tom Bennet) though Federica isn’t interested and would like the much younger Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel) for herself much to the dismay of his entire family who happen to be her hosts. The incredibly seductive but married Lord Manwaring is in the background. The affairs, intrigues, and counter intrigues play out like an old-fashioned comedy of errors but it’s LOVE & FRIENDSHIP’s rapid dialogue and Lady Susan’s biting one liners, that mostly occur when she is with her American best friend Alicia Johnson (Chloë Savigny), that truly sets the film apart.

Toni Ohms

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

Original title: Lady Susan: Love and Friendship
USA 2016, 92 min
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Love Stories
Director: Whit Stillman
Author: Whit Stillman
DOP: Richard Van Oosterhout
Distributor: KSM
Cast: Chloë Sevigny, Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Fry, Xavier Samuel
FSK: oA
Release: 29.12.2016

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