Beautiful and quick witted widow Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale) moves into the estate of her in-laws to lay low for a few months, and wait for rumours surrounding her and her late husband to depart. Meanwhile she decides to find herself a new husband, and also find one for her reluctant daughter (Morfydd Clark).
The Austen novella “Lady Susan” on which this is based is not a work that I am at all familiar with so I can’t judge at all whether it’s a good adaptation or not. However I must say Love & Friendship is possibly the most thoroughly pleasant experience I have encountered in 2016. The film saunters along at quite a leisurely pace plot wise, this it however makes up for with the quick and sharp dialogue. The film while rarely belly laugh funny, is solidly chuckle some throughout. But when these big laughs come, they really do come mostly in the form of Tom Bennett’s deliciously incompetent potential suitor – Sir James Martin. Who’d of thought a conversation about peas could be quite this funny?
The performances here are all near perfect with standouts being Chloe Sevigny, Xavier Samuel and the aforementioned Tom Bennett. But the real star of Love & Friendship is really Kate Beckinsale of course. Every minute she is on screen you realise how much Hollywood has wasted her talent on garbage like Underworld (I like Underworld don’t get me wrong, but its garbage nonetheless) because she is quite simply wonderful here.
Overall, Love & Friendship isn’t a game changer (other than perhaps for Kate Beckinsale) but it is a really nice time. I think no matter what mood you are in Love & Friendship will do the trick.