Big Tuna challenged me to watch Love & Friendship (2016) as part of the February Take Five Challenge. It’s currently available for free through Amazon Prime Instant. I had no interest in this film because it is based on a Jane Austen novel, and I tend to find those very boring and tedious. Fortunately, Love & Friendship has a lot of comedic elements and is only an hour and a half in length.
Love & Friendship wasn’t really my cup of tea
Recently widowed, Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) moves in with her in-laws at their fancy estate, and she sets out to help her daughter and herself find love or at least a husband. That’s the premise, though the snappy writing and the far-too-many characters did cause some confusion as to what exactly was going on. Yet, the humor is present, even with the character introduction, and the film comes off a little more satirical than expected.
The funniest part of the movie is the character Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett). He is a potential suitor of Frederica Vernon (Morfydd Clark) but is a little on the dumb side. His discovery of peas may be one of the funniest scenes I can remember over the last two years. He is genuinely surprised and calls them a novelty vegetable. Every moment he has on screen, he steals with his dopey humor and line-reads that sound more confident than the words he is saying.
Even though there is comedy in this film, it’s still a Victorian period piece. Thus, it still didn’t work with my Sense and Sensibilities. The boredom sunk in moments into the movie, and despite getting me to laugh several times, it never really recovered. I tried to give the film my attention, but my mind wandered on a path more tangled than Lady Susan’s manipulations. There were definitely chunks of this film that I was completely checked out during, and would come back to it confused more than I should have been.
Ultimately, this film just isn’t for me. The acting seems solid, the production design seems good, and there were some funny moments. I just check out when movies are set in this period. I wish I was a little more high-brow, but diving into any of Jane Austen’s material feels like drinking a whole bottle of Nyquil. Love & Friendship (2016) earns the Not a Total Waste of Time rating and a C for Big Tuna’s site.