Starring Kate Beckinsale as the witty, manipulative dynamo Lady Susan, Love & Friendship is the latest from Whit Stillman, who directed both Last Days of Disco and Metropolitan.
Please note that the movie is actually an adaptation of the later novella Lady Susan, even though it borrows its name from a piece of Austen juvenilia. Back in January, Stillman told Vanity Fair a bit about what drew him to the story:
It’s really about an extravagant, really funny character. And kind of wicked. We just had a lot of fun with the character. Austen got more devout and religious as her life went on. So when she was guiding Pride and Prejudice through the publishing process, she thought it was too light and airy and silly. She wanted to write something more serious. So she wrote Mansfield Park. So that’s her cast of mind later on, and it explains why she didn’t rush to publish Lady Susan while she was alive.
Have there been a million and one Jane Austen adaptations? Yes. Can there ever be enough movies about scheming, witty women of history, especially the Georgian era? No.