There was great excitement when our local Jane Austen group was invited to a special preview screening of ‘Love and Friendship’ at the Palace Nova cinema in Adelaide. All of us thoroughly enjoyed Whit Stillman’s version of Jane Austen’s teenage novella ‘Lady Susan’. Described as 'an exquisite comedy of match-making and heartbreak', I consider this movie as the best yet at demonstrating Jane's wicked wit.
Kate Beckinsale was wonderful as Lady Susan ably teamed up with new and familiar faces. Afterwards there was great discussion about various aspects. At the risk of giving too much away, our leader Barbara Baldock was not unhappy with the portrayal of Lady Susan, who is a very clever character. But when Barbara was rereading her letters to Alicia and her comments to others, particularly her daughter, it made Barbara think Lady Susan was just a little too nice in the movie, and not nasty enough!
One member was very unhappy with the Sir James actor/character but the rest of us liked him. Barbara did not approve of his appearance and his extraordinary stupidity in his final scene and thought it was too bad Stillman departed from the novel and invented this plot twist. She also thought that the Reginald character didn’t show his uprightness well enough, as in the book he is very damning about Lady Susan, talking about her ‘perverted abilities’ and despises himself for his weakness.
Overall it is a thoroughly enjoyable movie and I can’t wait to see it again, now it is open to all from this weekend.