Love and Friendship DVD Review

lf4Lady Susan Vernon (Beckinsale) is a widow, financially insolvent and a bit of a schemer. She has a reputation for many awful little things that the world considers unbecoming of a woman of that age. Staying with her brother in law Charles Vernon and his family at his country retreat Churchill. Her daughter has left school and frequent trips to London are the only chance at helping her. She also has eyes on a few suitors for her and her rather troubled daughter but some are not happy with her ideas and her schemes.

lf3Whit Stillman has found a place for his written style that both supports his skill with words and his film making form. Love and Friendship mixes the intelligence of Stillman’s previous bourgeois pieces but unlike previous works this has wider range, subtle comedy, great visuals and some great performances. As a story it is solid in form.  I found the well rounded plotting, though simple enough, benefited from its simple and smooth telling. Plot points are so well sign posted, sets ups are firmly shaped and the pay offs are so hard in telling that it is an easy follow.

lf2Stillman fills the piece with verbal comedy that is witty and yet fits the period. Sometimes it can descend into a ham fest in when it is gossip or tales of sadness and melancholia.This jarred a little but was befitting a range of Austen telling of former film makers and so is in the right generic conventions. The space is grand and opulent but also feels claustrophobic. Some of this leads to odd problems of how did she get that and why but I suspect this will be brushed over. This is another jarring element for the film reviewer.

lf1Beckinsale is not the best thing here but gives us the central performance of a horrid cow with gusto. The stand outs are Morfydd Clark shy but sincere child and Tom Bennett brilliant bumbling fool.  Its a charming film and one that will be a deserved watch. It has issues mind but so small are they that you will not care.The disc has one thing on it. Its a behind the scenes and one that gives away little.


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