Based on the novel Lady Susan by Jane Austen and starring Kate Beckinsale, Xavier Samuel and Chloë Sevigny, Love & Friendship tells the story of a lady who takes up temporary residence at her in-laws’ estate, whilst harbouring a cunning secret plan to play matchmaker for her daughter and herself during her stay.
Directed by Whit Stillman, I was drawn to this comedy / drama because of the humour in the trailer. Post viewing though, I’d say that as much as I enjoyed the costumes and Beckinsale’s performance, Love & Friendship isn’t particularly great. The film is amusing in parts – for example some of Beckinsale’s dialogue and some of the awkwardness of the ‘silly man’ character played by Tom Bennett were entertaining. However, overall, the experience just isn’t especially memorable.
There were moments where I found myself being hyper aware of the fact that I was watching actors in costume having fun pretending; especially when Sevigny was on screen. Maybe I just wasn’t expecting to see her in a period piece. Perhaps she was miscast or it’s likely that the film simply wasn’t that enthralling. I do know that the general awkwardness which was most evident in some of the editing didn’t help matters.
I can’t deny the costumes can be quite arresting, so I say watch it if you really must.
Happy Film Loving