Mark Twain wrote, “To me his prose is unreadable — like Jane Austin’s [sic]. No there is a difference. I could read his prose on salary, but not Jane’s. Jane is entirely impossible. It seems a great pity that they allowed her to die a natural death.”
– Letter to W. D. Howells, 18 January 1909
Now, that might be a bit harsh.
Love & Friendship is a movie based on a Jane Austin novella “Lady Susan” and this felt like an odd film. It was a funny film with some impressive dialogue. However, it felt like it thought it was a better film than it actually was.
Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) is a widow who goes to her sister’s-in-law home with tons of machinations, looking to get herself married, as well as her daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark). She targets Reginald (Xavier Samuel), the brother of her sister-in-law Catherine (Emma Greenwell) while trying to match up her daughter with the goofy Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett).
Kate Beckinsale is radiant in this movie. She is amazingly beautiful and she delivers her lines with a brilliant dryness. My problem with this film is the story becomes a tad convoluted whereas Lady Susan’s plotting goes all over the place. This causes her machinations to pull me out of the story.
And, the music in the background made me feel like I was watching a Monty Python movie, and this is not a Monty Python movie. This film has amazing dialogue, not a slapstick comedy. It did not feel like the correct tone.
And the ending seemed to come out of nowhere.
So while I found this funny at times and I loved watching Kate Beckinsale every time she was on screen, I did not like these characters and the plot was hard to accept. Great dialogue, but there needed to be more.