Love & Friendship full movie review - Love & Friendship
Having seen The Last Days of Disco on television about 13, or more years ago (when they actually showed interesting movies on television late at night) and having been introdu
ced to the other works of writer/director Whit Stillman through some good friends of mine (they all mutually love his work), I then became a fan of his whole body of work including Metropolitan and Barcelona as well (I still need to see Damsels in Distress as it is the only piece of work by him that I still have yet to see). I have admired and enjoyed all of these films in equal measure and over the years I was surprised to see that Stillman has worked very sporadically on films over the years as there was a difference of over 10 years when he made The Last Days of Disco and then did Damsels in Distress all those years later with nothing in between. I believe I have read that Stillman had since moved to Europe and had even been a professor of sorts, teaching in various colleges, or universities, so that may explain his absence from films for that period of time. Almost very much the same case as Terrence Malick, who like Stillman for a time went without making a film for quite awhile and in both cases they seem to keep their private lives very private and focus more on the work they do in front of and behind the camera, more, or less letting the films speak for themselves. When, I first heard that Stillman was going to re team with his actresses from The Last Days of Disco (Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny) to do a period piece film based on a Jane Austen novella that wasn't published till after she had died, my interest was immediately peaked. Granted, I have never read a Jane Austen novel, or to my knowledge seen any of the film adaptations of said novels unless in passing I had seen something on Masterpiece Theatre on Sunday nights, but if I had it has been a long time and I remember nothing. Having now seen the finished product called Love & Friendship, which is based on the novella Lady Susan, I can now entirely see why Whit Stillman chose this as his next project and why he was the most perfect director for the job and why he pulled it off so perfectly. I do not know what Austen's other novels, or the film adaptations consist of, but Love & Friendship is certainly a very humorous film and if one was to try and classify it, I would certainly label it as a comedy. The humour though is very much in the exact same style, tone and with the acid wit that fans of Stillman have come to know and love through his films and especially through the scene stealing characters that Chris Eigeman would always play, who for the most part were overly confident characters bordering on narcissism and arrogance who you could not help but laugh and totally enjoy them for their lack of tact, or feelings for others with what they would say and do. If you are a fan of that type of humour and you like your laughs with wit, dry and a bit of acidity then you have come to the right film with Love & Friendship. The screenplay here is so brilliantly done that it not only takes us into this period piece world, but involves us into the complicated goings on of the characters and the oh so complicated webs they weave. Characters who are busy bodies, gossips and some who are just unbeknownst to themselves just lovable fools are all on display here and we have a good time both laughing at them and with them as well. The acting from the entire cast is the best ensemble cast that I have seen this year so far and they bring these lively characters and sharp dialogue to life with such skill and precision that they make it look easy when I am pretty sure it is not. This is a film with a wonderful sense of humour, but also a certain amount of playfulness and just plain frolicking and fun as well. Never have I enjoyed myself so thoroughly with a film of this kind, or at least not in recent memory. This deserves to be nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Stillman and I also hope his extremely talented cast doesn't get overlooked either. For fans of classic literature, or for any of the reasons above, this film is a must see and my absolute favourite film of the year so far. I am so glad that Stillman is back making movies and has a sure fire hit on his hands and I literally can not wait to see what his next project will be as this one ranks up there with his very best. A masterpiece that I am glad is doing so well in limited release and I hope continues to be discovered by mature movie goers.