On a more positive note I did go to a double feature tonight and saw a movie that I LOVED called Love and Friendship!
Based on the Jane Austen novel Lady Susan with the title of her teenage novella Love and Friendship. It is directed by Whit Stillman and is a complete and total delight. Without a doubt the best comedy I have seen in a long time.
This is not the stuffy Jane Austen adaptations you might be expecting. It is saucy, witty and kept me guessing. It stars Kate Beckinsale as Lady Susan Vernon a widow who goes to live with her in-laws because she is out of money and has a somewhat scandalous reputation.
Naturally she immediately schemes to find a way out of her situation and is willing to manipulate all her relatives including her daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark) if needs be. This might make her sound unlikable but she’s so matter-of-fact about it that you are kind of rooting for her to pull it off.
She tries to garner the good favor of a young man named Reginald Decoursey (James Fleet) and the way she manipulates him is hilarious. All the while she convinces her daughter to obey her using the 10 Commandments in a very funny way. Her in-laws hate her but by the end of the movie they are practically begging for her to return (or her daughter which is one and the same).
Chloe Sevigny plays her American friend Alicia Johnson and they are hilarious together. Alicia is married to an old man Mr Johnson (Stephen Fry) who hates Lady Susan and forbids his wife to see her but she somehow always does. Tom Bennett is also very funny as Sir James Martin a stupid man Lady Susan wants her daughter to marry.
Whit Stillman has done a fantastic job with this film. All of the costumes are immaculate and other production is right up there with the great period pieces. But the main star in this film is the script by Jane Austen and Whit Stillman. I am now more convinced than ever that Jane Austen was a genius.
I laughed from beginning to end and I think you will too. Kate Beckinsale deserves Oscar consideration for this part and if it doesn’t get nominated for adapted screenplay I will picket the academy! Go see it! I know you’ll love it too.
Overall Grade- A+ One of the best of the year for sure.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge Jane Austen fan. I reread all 6 of her novels every year and they never grow old to me. She has such witty dialogue, complex characters and builds tension better than any author I know. So, it was with some hesitation I saw Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was being made into a movie. I had heard of the parody book but never read it because it seemed to be making fun of my beloved Austen. I worried the movie would do the same. In fact, I wasn’t going to see the movie but I decided a true Austen fan should give her review and so I took the bullet and went and saw it.
And to my surprise I had a pretty good time. I still wish Pride and Prejudice and Zombies didn’t have the zombies and was just a straight adaptation but for what it was I found it entertaining. In truth, it doesn’t mock Pride and Prejudice or Jane Austen but just has a new spin on the story.
The idea behind this version is that zombies came with the plague and the Bennett girls are not only looking for husbands but fierce warriors trained in China. It is all very silly but done with enough panache to be fun. Mr Darcy, Lady Catherine, Mr Bingley are all zombie warriors too. Mr Wickham has shady background and is working with the zombies and Mr Collins is still just plain old Mr Collins.
The cast is a lot of fun in this version. Lily James is wonderful as Lizzy. Again I wish she could have just been a regular Lizzy. I also LOVED Matt Smith as Mr Collins. He may be my favorite Mr Collins yet on screen. I thought Sam Riley was fine as Mr Darcy but nothing spectacular. He was better at the zombie killing than the Darcyisms.
My favorite scene is probably the proposal which has a fighting component that totally worked. Also the take on Lady Catherine played by Lena Headey was so much fun.
There are some problems with the direction of the film. A lot of the action is jerky and darkly shot and the zombies are rather inconsistent. Sometimes they can hold in their zombieness and other times they can’t. There are also one too many martial arts style fight sequences than they probably needed, but they all are done in a spirit of fun. I laughed a lot.
Overall, I went into this expecting to hate it but I had a good time. It’s silly but also creative and doesn’t take itself too seriously. I think if you give it a shot you will enjoy it.
As far as content much of the violence is off screen with just the sound effects. What you do see is dark or in shadows. I’m pretty squeamish and I was ok with it.
Overall Grade- B