We’ve already had one film adapted from a Jane Austen novel this year in the form of ‘Pride + Prejudice + Zombies’, well I suppose that doesn’t completely count but only a few months after it’s left the cinema we have another in ‘Love & Friendship’. Based on Austen’s novel ‘Lady Susan’ could ‘Love & Friendship’ make Jane Austen entertaining?
It certainly could, as ‘Love & Friendship’ will probably end up being one of the funniest films of the year. I had heard comments about the comedy featured here, and whilst I accepted that there may have been amusing moments I didn’t think there would be all that much to laugh at. Futhermore the ‘U’ rating that the film had attached to it only deepened my reservations about this element. However this period drama really surprised me in just how effortless it was in making it’s audience laugh, the comedy was great. I don’t know whether this was down to the source material or Whit Stillman’s writing but either way the film was filled with lots of comedic moments. Generally these laughs were effective although I have to admit that some were lost or had a delayed reaction from me due to the Austen esque language used but I imagine that audience members familiar with this won’t have any issues. Regardless of this small flaw there were many other comedy sequences included that required no great level of familiarity with the language of the time. The confidence to devote time to some of these sequences was good as it allowed the gag to continue and therefore reaching its full potential for amusement.
Comedy aside the rest of the film had many other strengths to it as well. However one flaw that I would have to note would be the bombardment of characters and character descriptions that the audience has thrust upon them at the start of the film. I found that there was too much information to take in and I really didn’t have a clue who was who and who was related to who! Thankfully the narrative made it easy to understand the various different individuals and their relations to each other. The cast all fit well to the comedic nature of the film, many of the supporting cast are familiar with this genre. The more central character adapt to this very well too. Kate Beckinsale leads the cast as Lady Susan and delivers most of the laughs with her witty one-liners. Beckinsale’s delivery is key for many of these laughs and she nails this role. Alongside her we have Xavier Samuel, he’s a young actor who I’ve not seen in much before but he impressed me here ditching his Australian accent for a more sophisticated English one quite convincingly and the same can be said for his performance as a whole.
Despite the appearance of ‘Love & Friendship’ this period drama is far for the boring kind of films usually found in it’s genre. Instead the film is wonderfully funny in such a simple way, the script is the real star here showcasing some brilliant and very witty writing. The cast do a good job to deliver these lines and perform well in their roles. Also don’t let the ‘U’ rating put you off, whilst not obviously risky there are enough polite implications for those hoping for something a bit more naughty. ‘Love & Friendship’ is a welcome breath of fresh English air amongst a usually dull genre, cynics of the period drama should definitely check this out!
Rating – 7.5/10
Question: What is your favourite period drama film?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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