Love & Friendship (U)
Drama | Romance
Dir. Whit Stillman, Ireland/Rest of the World, 2016, 92 mins
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell, Justin Edwards, Tom Bennett, Morfydd Clark, Jemma Redgrave, James Fleet, Jenn Murray, Stephen Fry
Based on the Jane Austen novella ‘Lady Susan’ and set in the 1790s, earlier than most Austen tales, Whit Stillman’s exquisite comedy of matchmaking and heart-breaking Love & Friendship concerns beautiful young widow Lady Susan Vernon (Beckinsale).
The deliciously scheming and manipulative Lady Susan has come to Churchill, the estate of her in-laws, to wait out the colourful rumours about her dalliances circulating through polite society.
Whilst ensconced there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and for her eligible but reluctant school-girl daughter Frederica (Clark). The waters are troubled by the arrival at Churchill of the handsome, eligible Reginald DeCourcy (Samuel) and silly but cheerful – and very rich – Sir James Martin (Bennett).
Chloe Sevigny, who starred with Beckinsale in Whit Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco (1998) plays Lady Susan’s friend and confidante Alicia Johnson, with Stephen Fry as her husband, the “very respectable” Mr. Johnson.