Ted, a stuffy white guy from Illinois working in sales for the Barcelona office of a US corporation, is paid an unexpected visit by his somewhat less stuffy cousin Fred, who is an officer ... See full summary »
Set in the 1790s, Love and Friendship centers on beautiful widow Lady Susan Vernon, who has come to the estate of her in-laws to wait out colorful rumors about her dalliances circulating through polite society. Whilst there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and her rather reluctant debutante daughter, Frederica.
At one point, one of the female characters complains that her husband is "not old enough to die soon", thereby letting her become a wealthy widow. However, her husband in the film is quite old for the time, appearing to be in his 60's. The average life expectancy in the period of 1750-1800 was only 35 years old. The wealthy lived longer, of course, but one was still not expected to live past 50 years of age at the time. See more »
Lady Susan Vernon:
Ah, mortality. Our mortality and that of others, but most particularly our own, is the hardest and most intractable hand life can deal us.
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At the conclusion of the end credits, there is a line encouraging viewers to read the novel, "in which Lady Susan Vernon is thoroughly vindicated." See more »
Beckinsale excels in a comic tale of Girl Power in the 1790's
Set in 1790, Kate Beckinsale plays Lady Susan Vernon, an 18th century cuckoo-like 'MILF' (actually, more 'LILF', but using the 'Lady' term loosely) who with her glamorous demeanour is lusted after by both younger beaus as well as married aristocracy: an example being Lord Manwaring (Lochlann O'Mearáin).
Playing many different ends against the middle, Lady Susan – with the collusion of her American friend Alicia (Chloë Sevigny) – attempts to both find a suitably rich suitor for her daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark) as well as finding a rich husband for herself to allow her to stay in the manor (sic) to which she has become accustomed. A tale of deception, pregnancy and a marriage of convenience follows: does Lady Susan have to choose between her sexual desires and the rich, stupid and dull Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett, "David Brent: Life on the Road"). Or can she have her cake and eat it?
Based on a Jane Austen short story, "Lady Susan", this is a delight from beginning to end. However, it does require the attention of the viewer: characters get introduced to you in rapid fire succession, and keeping track of who's who and how they interrelate is quite a challenge.
But this is a tour de force for Kate "Underworld" Beckinsale who delivers a depth of acting ability that I've not seen from her in the past. Her comic timing is just sublime, and while comedies are often overlooked in Awards season, this is a role for which she richly deserves both BAFTA and Oscar recognition.
Stephen Fry joins what is a superb ensemble cast. But outstanding among them is Tom Bennett who is simply hilarious as the nice but dim Sir James. The comic routine about his misunderstanding of "Churchill" (Church – Hill) – a running gag – is sublime and a challenger (with "Was that it t'were so simple") for the comedy routine of the year.
Directed by Whit Stilman ("The Last Days of Disco") from his own screenplay, this is one for the more sophisticated viewer: requiring of your full attention, but a treat for the eyes, ears and brain.
(For the graphical version of this review please visit http://bob-the- movie-man.com. Thanks.)
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