Love & Friendship (2016 Period Comedy Film)  » Movies  »
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  • Period dramas are not really my cup of tea although I must admit the fact that I love Downton Abbey to death
  • I was in a depressed mode when the final episode aired this time last year because it was so sad to watch a whole bunch of characters I've grown to love for the last time together
  • So when I decided to watch Love & Friendship last night I was really cautious
  • Kate Beckinsale was the best thing that happened in this movie
  • However, I still don't think it was as good as it could have been


by Laudemhir Jan Parel

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    Period dramas are not really my cup of tea although I must admit the fact that I love Downton Abbey to death. I was in a depressed mode when the final episode aired this time last year because it was so sad to watch a whole bunch of characters I’ve grown to love for the last time together.

    However, period films are 50/50 for me. In my eyes they try so hard to relive everything in the past just to make the film look like it was really set in the past but I don’t know, my eyes could see through the gimmicks, particularly the accents.

  • Love & Friendship (2016 Period Comedy Film)
  • So when I decided to watch Love & Friendship last night I was really cautious. The first 10 minutes was very tough to follow, there were so many characters being introduced and I lost count on them. I had a hard time remembering their names and their roles. I almost tried to stop watching and just save it for later but the very short runtime of 93 minutes was very appealing. And so I watched the entire film.

    Love & Friendship is a movie based on a Jane Austin novella called “Lady Susan” which as I have read was never finished. It revolves around the recently widowed Lady Susan (played by Kate Beckinsale), a very condescending woman who travels from places to places in the mercy of her relatives and friends in 19th century England. She arranged a marriage for her daughter, to a very wealthy but silly gentleman, but soon finds out it is not as easy as she thought it would be.

  • Love & Friendship (2016 Period Comedy Film)
  • Kate Beckinsale was the best thing that happened in this movie. She carried Lady Susan so much with outstanding wit and humor - and blocking herself of any heartache or heartbreaks throughout the entire film. There were times I felt angry about her manipulative demeanor but there were also moments when I just wanted her to succeed. She’s occasionally diabolical towards everyone except herself but I can understand her struggle, after all she said, “No woman wants to live without money,” or something along that line.

    She perfectly suited in her costumes for which she shines in every occasion and she got just the right words to say. Her character reminds me of the condescending nature of Cate Blanchett’s portrayal in Blue Jasmine and for that reason alone, I love her performance.

  • Love & Friendship (2016 Period Comedy Film)
  • What I didn’t expect in this movie is that it was really funny. Period pieces often take themselves seriously but not this film, no. I hollered in many scenes. Downton Abbey had Lady Violet in its comedic core but even that didn’t reach the hilariousness of this film.

    Thank God the film was not really a weepy mess as I was actually hoping to see something new in this genre. I must applaud the movie for not having a dull scene, the movie went by very fast thanks to the performances of everyone.

  • Love & Friendship (2016 Period Comedy Film)
  • Speaking of performances, the whole supporting cast was solid. The best one was probably Tom Bennett who played the wealthy and rather silly Sir Martin whose marriage was arranged to Lady Susan’s daughter, Frederica. Tom steals every scene he is in, and his lack of proper understanding in addition to being misplaced in the 19th century was funny to look at.

    Xavier Samuel as Reginald DeCourcy, Lady Susan’s love interest, was good too, although I was hoping that his relationship with Lady Susan was more developed. I didn’t really buy their romance because it was almost one dimensional.

  • Love & Friendship (2016 Period Comedy Film)
  • Another top-billed character, Chloe Sevigny plays Alicia, Lady Susan’s partner in crime. She helps Lady Susan in her schematic plans and the two formed a really strong bond. I love their friendship, they really were keeping it real.

    As for the technical aspects of the film, I must say the costumes truly shine here. I would be rather shock if this one won’t get a nomination for Best Costumes in the Oscars.

    The score was typical period flare, some pieces worked but overall very forgettable. The screenplay was very witty too which was to be expected for a period film like this, and one especially adapted from an Austen novella.

    Overall I was really surprised and impressed by this film. I had different expectations when I decided to watch it. I thought it would be the “slow” kind but it turned out to be the exact opposite. It was so fast-paced that at times it gets harder to follow. I might want to revisit this movie some time in the future. However, I still don’t think it was as good as it could have been. I didn’t get that “wow” feeling I usually get when I watch a good film. I left wanting more.



0
JJ Brand says :

re : However, I still don’t think it was as good as it could have been
This is in the greater part because the story is one of Austen’s earliest. Anyone hoping for a wish-fulfilling romance along the lines of Darcy and Elizabeth will be disappointed. It is heavy on satire and cynicism, touching on themes that are far ahead of it’s time, but the narrative arc for each character is weak and difficult for an audience to invest in. Lady Susan is, after all, a narcissistic monster. She is entertaining and feisty, but a con-woman and seasoned manipulator. She is hard to empathise with, but so too is her passive daughter Frederica who is no modern heroine.

The film looks ravishing of course and Beckinsale’s beauty and contained performance embodies Lady Susan completely. It passes a rainy afternoon well enough, but the film is in no way the comforting and warm hug offered by more conventional period dramas.

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