Love and Friendship (2016)

What a delight this is.

Adapted from Jane Austen’s unfinished novella “Lady Susan,” Whit Stillman’s film is a slight but marvellously entertaining Regency comedy which had me laughing throughout. In terms of flaws, I don’t really understand the thinking between changing the name to “Love and Friendship” when “Lady Susan” is a much better title and doesn’t risk confusion with the original “Love and Friendship.”And Chloe Sevigny is a fine actress, I’m sure, but a completely incongruous presence in a 19th century historical drama; for whatever reason, she never comes across as anything but a 21st century person playing dress-up. But these are minor quibbles; overall, this is a real joy of a film, with a particularly delicious performance from Kate Beckinsale as the venal, terrible, wonderful protagonist, a bitingly sharp, hilarious script and a terrific supporting cast. I loved it.

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