This is the definition of an OK movie. That said, I’m going to preface this particular review by saying that, while I like to think of myself as some sort of pop culture renaissance man, able to equally appreciate a Shakespeare play and a Star Wars movie (I said “like to think” because it’s probably not true. Star Wars is pretty awesome), I have never really seen the appeal in the works of Jane Austen. I get that they are a nice little time capsule into the time and place that Austen existed in, but their not interesting enough in a modern context to really work in my mind. I mean, some of them are OK. I actually quite like the 1995 film of Sense and Sensibility, for example. I get entirely bored by Pride and Prejudice, in any of its iterations, however.
And yes, I’m including the one with zombies in it.
Love & Friendship is based upon Austen’s novella Lady Susan, which is Austen’s only real attempt at writing a comedic piece. Having not read the novella myself, I’m not certain where it draws humour from, but the movie takes humour in following the same sort of nonsense that other Austen stories follow – including high society shenanigans mostly revolving around the issue of who is going to marry who – while adding a remarkably British snarkiness that points out the silliness of the whole thing.
The story itself follows Lady Susan, a manipulative widow who travels to the Churchill estate, belonging to her brother-in-law, to try and ascertain whether or not a suitable husband exists there for either herself, under the guise of seeking an education for said daughter. Her brother-in-law’s wife doesn’t approve of Lady Susan’s presence, and things are made worse when Lady Susan’s daughter’s suitor arrived, a dimwitted man named Sir James. Soon all the various bit characters who didn’t really need to be there get to work trying to manipulate events so that their family gets the best possible outcome. As usual.
“Oh my goodness, I hope the DeCourcy family come out of this with their reputation in good shape”
The lead role of Lady Susan is played quite well by Kate Beckinsale, whose role is pivotal for a lot of the comedy. Beckinsale is able to deliver wry witticisms with the best of them, and it shows here. Some of the major supporting cast were not so good at this. Chloe Sevigny (American Horror Story), Xavier Samuel (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) and Emma Greenwell (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) all felt like they weren’t quite sure of the film’s tone.
That said, there were some other supporting roles that became real scene stealers. Tom Bennett, who I had never seen before in anything, really stole the entire film as dimwitted Sir James, while respected British thespians such as Jemma Redgrave (Doctor Who), James Fleet (The Vicar of Dibley, every single British rom-com) and Stephen Fry (appears nightly on the ABC) did their usual thing to great effect.
The problem with this film was that I don’t know who it would appeal to. People who hate the work of Jane Austen aren’t going to like this film – there’s too much of the Austen faffing about happening to grasp the attention of anyone who can’t stand such things. And the people who absolutely adore the more well-known of Jane Austen’s works might find themselves also disliking it, due to the film mercilessly poking fun at the banality of those better known stories. I guess it will find it’s audience, but it’s definitely a unique film.
3.2/5 – I mean, it was OK but it definitely wasn’t as good as Star Wars
Seriously, I love Star Wars. Pew pew pew!
ADDITIONAL MOVIE NEWS:
- Guess what? I’m gonna open with some Star Wars news? Why? Because it’s Star Wars. Anyway, with the recent confirmation that Alden Ehrenriech (Hail, Cesear) is officially cast as Han Solo for an upcoming solo Solo movie (get it? I said Solo twice), it was revealed this week that Ehrenriech is signed for 3 movies as the smuggler who DEFINITELY SHOT FIRST, indicating that we might get an entire trilogy about Han Solo. Here’s hoping they’re good then!
I’ve got a baaaaad feeling about this. Wait, wrong character!
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to pick up steam, and this week we got a look at the cast of Marvel’s upcoming film Black Panther, based on the character of the same name who appeared in Captain America: Civil War. This will be the first film to focus on a person of colour in the Marvel canon, and the cast has come together with some of the best African-American actors in the business. Joining Chadwick Boseman as the title role will be Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Chronicle, no relation to you-know-who), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, The Jungle Book, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Danai Gurira (Michonne from The Walking Dead). Twitter is expected to erupt into a furore of people complaining that there’s no white cast members just as soon as one of the potential complainers learns how to read well enough to actually find this news.
- Everyone loves a good sequel right? Well, Disney certainly think so and since you all paid them so much money for a Finding Nemo sequel, casting and production has gone ahead on the most unnecessary sequel ever. With Emily Blunt already cast, this film has now added Meryl Streep, and so we are all going to have to go and watch the bloody thing because god-dammit it might be good. Mary Poppins Returns will make you roll your eyes at the blatant cash-grab nature of Hollywood in 2018.
I wish I WAS joking, Dame Andrews. I’m sorry to break the bad news.
- One of the movies that you might have noticed I didn’t review this week was Lights Out, a horror movie that got rave reviews but I couldn’t make any screenings of because I was too busy rocking back and forwards in the foetal position. Well, great news for me then, because Lionsgate has already commissioned a sequel. Presumably even more lights will go out, and some other scary things will happen and I’m gonna be stuck with even more nightmares. So keep an eye out for that one.
- As Hollywood continues to make movies based on video games a thing that happens and succeeds, it was revealed this week that Jessica Chastain and Jake Gyllenhaal had signed on to a film based on the video game Tom Clancy’s The Division, a post-apocalyptic shoot-em-up that from what I can see had no involvement from Tom Clancy. The last video game that Gyllenhaal appeared in was the Prince of Persia movie that you’d also forgotten about. So, you know, get excited everyone!
It will still be better than whatever the hell this was meant to be. Oh-a no-a!