Whit Stillman’s ‘Love & Friendship’ Finds Ample Humor in Adapting Jane Austen

GameStop, Inc.

love-and-friendship-001

Over the years, we’ve seen so many adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels that it formed its own subgenre, even sneaking its way into the titles of subpar spoofs such as Jane Austen’s Mafia!. Just this past year we saw a different take on Austen’s most famous work with the absurd mashup Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. However, Austen’s work doesn’t need the hordes of the undead to inject comedy into her work. There’s a signature wit that Austen employs in her tales of the British aristocracy. The latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s work to grace the screen is Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship, a lively and funny adaptation of the novella Lady Susan. Working with wonderful actors and a tight script, Stillman reminds us that Austen is just funnier without the damned zombies.

A recent widow, Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) is floating around to the various estates of her friends and family as she seeks a way to keep up her aristocratic lifestyle. Staying with Catherine (Emma Greenwell) and Charles Vernon (Justin Edwards), Susan gossips about others with a casual callousness, and attempts to woo the affections of Catherine’s brother Reginald DeCourcy (Xaiver Samuel). Meanwhile, Susan’s good friend Alicia Johnson (Chloë Sevigny), an American living in England, must limit her gossiping with Susan or else her husband Mr. Johnson (Stephen Fry) will send her back to Connecticut. Things are complicated when Susan’s daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark) is expelled from school and meets her mother at the Vernon’s home. Complicating matters further is the arrival of Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett), a bumbling aristocrat who is desperate to win Frederica’s affections. Life’s just so hard for the affluent characters in their never-ending search for love and respect in Georgian England.

After the first few minutes, once each character has been given a quaint and humorous introduction, the breezy pacing of Love & Friendship takes hold. Once you’ve been acquainted with each character, Stillman’s understated humor really comes into play, slowly building from little chuckles to great, big guffaws. The wit in Stillman’s adaptation comes from these characters being so casually contradictory, speaking of what’s proper while gossiping about improper things. There’s a subtlety at play for most of the humor in Love & Friendship which is quickly dismissed when Tom Bennett’s James Martin arrives, injecting the film with most of its laugh-out-loud moments.

Whit Stillman employs a fairly classical style of direction in Love & Friendship, though he’s sometimes willing to take a step back and allow the setting of the opulent houses fill the frame around the sniping aristocrats. As the leading lady, Kate Beckinsale is alluring in her appearance and repellent with her words. This is probably the finest performance of Beckinsale’s career, one that highlights a seldom seen excellence at understated humor. There’s a real chemistry between Beckinsale and Sevigny on the screen, the two excellent actresses casually trading witty barbs about the other characters.

You don’t have to be an aficionado of Jane Austen’s work to enjoy Love & Friendship. Whit Stillman takes the rather obscure novella and crafts a charming and hilarious story of the selfish pursuit of love among the aristocracy. Here is a magnificently constructed period comedy that finds more laughs in its modest approach than the outlandish absurdity to already grace the screen this year. There are few more enjoyable ways to spend 90 minutes at the theater.

  • Love & Friendship
4

Summary

Love & Friendship is a breezy, hilarious adaptation of Jane Austen featuring a magnificent performance from Kate Beckinsale.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

FanboyNation
Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
‘Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Three’ – Leaves us Wanting More! – Spoiler Free Review

‘Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Three‘ is a...

‘Lumina’ is a Incredible First for Debuting Director, Gino McKoy – Review

‘Lumina‘ is an incredible concept and an exceptional first run for...

Aaron Augenblick Returns for Season 2 of ‘City Island’ on PBS KIDS – Interview

Acclaimed Animator, Aaron Augenblick Returns with a Second Season of ‘City...

Event News Event Reviews
The ‘California Dreams’ Band Reunite on The Sunset Strip For a Night of 90s Nostalgia – Concert Review

Don’t Wake Me Up if I’m Dreaming, The ‘California Dreams‘ Band...

Jay Anthony Franke Talks California Dreams Reunion Concert in LA – Interview

Jay Anthony Franke Talks About The ‘California Dreams‘ Reunion Concert in...

‘An Inspector Calls’ Challenges the Morals of the Bourgeois – Review

‘An Inspector Calls‘ Challenges the Morals and Ethics of the Bourgeois...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Derek Gumin Talks Planet 13 and UFC 303 Meet and Greets – Interview

Director of Wholesale Accounts at Planet 13, Derek Gumin spoke about...

Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse – Blood on the Cactus, Endgame

Mhuhahahahahahahah!

Fantoy Comics Presents: A 4th of July Message!

Seriously, America, THIS crap?!?!?

Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse: Blood on the cactus pt 4 (?)

There are some weird guys here that want invest in a...

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus
MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Billy Eddy Talks His new Book ‘Our New World of Adult Bullies’ – Interview

Lawyer, Mediator and Personality Expert Bill Eddy Provides a Six-Step Strategy...

Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...