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Before the movie Love and Friendship even began, I looked around the movie theater and thought, “Wow! I’m the youngest one here.” What struck me as odd about that was the fact that this movie is rated PG. Usually PG films are packed full of children, but I was the only one without any gray hair (only because I went to the salon earlier in the day, of course.)
Love and Friendship is based on author Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan. The main character is Lady Susan Vernon, a 19th century, penniless widow who uses her clever wit and feminine wiles to maintain the lifestyle she had grown accustomed to before the passing of her husband as she schemes to find his replacement. The beautiful Kate Beckinsale was cast perfectly as the leading lady.
Lady Susan arrives at the estate of her late husband’s brother, and cleverly worms her way into making herself right at home even though she was never invited. She manipulates everyone in her path, but does so in a way that is seamless. Even when she has been caught in the pinnacle of her manipulation, she is shrewdly able to turn the tables on anyone who dares to accuse her of any wrongdoing.
If you liked the television series Downton Abbey and enjoy British humor, you will love this movie. The costumes are breathtakingly stunning, and the one liners are downright brilliant. I found myself wishing I could pause the movie so I could write down some of Lady Susan’s maxims such as “Facts are such horrid things.”
My only complaint about the dialogue was that sometimes it was so rapid I didn’t feel I had adequate time to absorb the genius entwined in each zinger. (For you Downton Abbey fans, the humor in Love and Friendship was swifter and ever present, which is different than Downton Abbey in that there weren’t moments of serious drama interlaced with quips here and there.) In true British fashion though, even when the characters delivered tongue-in-cheek lines, their facial expressions remained stoic.
My friend Dani, who went to the movie with me, enjoyed the movie just as much as I did. “I thought it was hysterical.” She added, “I do think that you need to be intelligent to understand it all. It was very fast-paced and the old-fashioned language that they spoke quickly was witty.” She said she would definitely recommend it.
This may very well be the only PG movie that I wouldn’t suggest for children. My nine year old daughter would have glazed over within the first few minutes of the movie because she wouldn’t have been able to follow the dialogue, but I, on the other hand, found the movie to be utterly delightful, making me wish I too incorporated fancy vocabulary words into my vernacular. (Think how much smarter I would sound if said “reproach, caprices, vexing, and abhor” all of the time.)
Two words of advice for all of you who need glasses: Bring them. There aren’t any subtitles because the whole movie is in English, but there are several instances where glasses would help with written words that appear on-screen.
The cast was phenomenal, the acting was superb, and the author remains a true legend. For me Love and Friendship was a triumph.
For movie times click here.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director: Whit Stillman
Actors: Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Morfydd Clark, Tom Bennett
Rating: PG for some thematic elements
Running Time: 1 hour 32 minutes