Love & Friendship (2016)

Love & Friendship
Director: Whit Stillman
Writer: Whit Stillman
Based on: Lady Susan by Jane Austen
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Morfydd Clark, Tom Bennett, Jenn Murray, Lochlann O’Mearáin, Sophie Radermacher, Chloë Sevigny, Stephen Fry, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell, Justin Edwards
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 26.10.2016

Plot:
Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) is a widow with a 16-year-old daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark). Susan very much enjoys her widowhood and has garnered quite a reputation as a seductress. Her most recent conquest, Mr. Manwaring (Lochlann O’Mearáin), has left her in a bit of a delicate situation, so she retreats to her brother’s (Justin Edwards) estate. Her sister-in-law Catherine Vernon (Emma Greenwell) is not pleased as she suspects Susan’s scheming ways. Catherine’s brother Reginald (Xavier Samuel), on the other hand, is rather intrigued by her, despite the warnings. Susan knows she will have to find good husbands for Frederica and herself to secure their futures, so that’s what she sets her mind to.

Love & Friendship was an utterly delightful film. Funny, romantic and filled with great characters, the film is the novel Jane Austen could have written if she had wanted to spend more time on Lady Susan. I absolutely adored it.

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Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon (Jane Austen)

Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sanditon are works of Jane Austen, the latter two of which remain unfinished.
Finished [reading, not the fragments ;)] on: 26.10.2016

Jane Austen is great, whether in fragments or finished. I very much enjoyed reading all three of the story (parts), although I’m actually happy that Sanditon remained a fragment because I would have different plans for the characters than Austen most likely intended and this way, the path is free for me to imagine it all. In any case, if you enjoy her finished and polished novels, it’s definitely worth checking out her other works as well.

After the jump, I’ll talk about each work separately.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Director: Burr Steers
Writer: Burr Steers
Based on: Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel, which is in turn an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Matt Smith, Emma Greenwell
Seen on: 12.6.2016

Plot:
Early 19th century, England: A strange plague has befallen the land and the dead are rising. In the middle of all this confusion is the Bennett family. Mr Bennett (Charles Dance) has trained his daughters Elizabeth (Lily James), Jane (Bella Heathcote), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Mary (Millie Brady) and Kitty (Suki Waterhouse) in the deadly arts, but their mother (Sally Phillips) tries everything to get them married. So it is just as well, when two new young men enter their social lives – Mr Bingley (Douglas Booth), amiable and sweet and Mr Darcy (Sam Riley), arrogant and proud. Will the Bennett sisters find their perfect guys and not get eaten by unmentionables?

After my experience with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I was very much prepared for needing all my sarcasm and irony (and alcohol) to enjoy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Turns out that many of my fears were unfunded – P&P&Z is often intentionally hilarious, even if it does have some weaknesses.

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Persuasion (2007)

Persuasion
Director: Adrian Shergold
Writer: Simon Burke
Based on: Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Rupert Penry-Jones, Alice Krige, Anthony Head, Julia Davis, Peter Wight, Marion Bailey, Amanda Hale, Tobias Menzies
Seen on: 28.6.2015
[Here’s my review of the 1995 version.]

Plot:
Many years ago, Anne Elliot (Sally Hawkins) was engaged to Frederick Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones), but took the advice of her motherly friend Lady Russell (Alice Krige), as well as listened to the opinions of her father Sir Walter (Anthony Head) and her sister Elizabeth (Julia Davis)and dissolved the engagement since Wentworth didn’t have much standing. Quite by coincidence Frederick is back in her life after years in the Navy and has made a name for himself as well as a fortune. Anne is convinced, though, that he will never forgive her for her past actions. And when her cousin William Elliot (Tobias Menzies) starts courting her, she might be getting another chance, despite being alread 27 years old and still unmarried.

Despite my love for Sally Hawkins, this version of Persuasion absolutely did not work for me. Which is not her fault, but mostly due to the script and the direction.

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Persuasion (1995)

Persuasion
Director: Roger Michell
Writer: Nick Dear
Based on: Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Amanda Root, Ciarán Hinds, Susan Fleetwood, Corin Redgrave, Fiona Shaw, John Woodvine, Phoebe Nicholls, Samuel West, Sophie Thompson, Judy Cornwell, Simon Russell Beale
Seen on: 27.6.2015

Plot:
Many years ago, Anne Elliot (Amanda Root) was engaged to Frederick Wentworth (Ciarán Hinds), but took the advice of her motherly friend Lady Russell (Susan Fleetwood), as well as listened to the opinions of her father Sir Walter (Corin Redgrave) and her sister Elizabeth (Phoebe Nicholls) and dissolved the engagement since Wentworth didn’t have much standing. Quite by coincidence Frederick is back in her life after years in the Navy and has made a name for himself as well as a fortune. Anne is convinced, though, that he will never forgive her for her past actions. And when her cousin William Elliot (Samuel West) starts courting her, she might be getting another chance, despite being alread 27 years old and still unmarried.

Persuasion was so incredibly nice, I almost burned the cake that I was baking while watching it because I couldn’t bear to leave Anne and Frederick.

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Persuasion (Jane Austen)

Persuasion is the last finished novel by Jane Austen (and the last I hadn’t yet read*).
Finished on: 21.04.2015
[Here are my other Austen reviews (and assorted).]

Plot:
Many years ago, Anne Elliot was engaged to Frederick Wentworth, but took the advice of her motherly friend Lady Russell, as well as listened to the opinions of her father Sir Walter and her sister Elizabeth and dissolved the engagement since Wentworth didn’t have much standing. Quite by coincidence Frederick is back in her life after years in the Navy and has made a name for himself as well as a fortune. Anne is convinced, though, that he will never forgive her for her past actions. And when her cousin William Elliot starts courting her, she might be getting another chance, despite being alread 27 years old and still unmarried.

I really enjoyed Persuasion, even though it means that there are no new Austen novels for me anymore. But that just means that I’ll have to re-read everything. In any case, Persuasion shines with vibrant characters and a sweet story.

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Death Comes to Pemberley (P. D. James)

Death Comes to Pemberley is a novel by P. D. James, a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Plot:
It’s been 6 years since the Darcys married and their life would be pretty much perfect, if it wasn’t for the continued tension between them and the Wickhams. The evening of Lady Anne’s Ball is coming up – the social event of the season hosted by the Darcys. But the night before, Lydia Wickham arrives at Pemberley in a state of panic, screaming that her husband has just been murdered in the woods of the estate. Mr Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam mount a search party to find out what happened.

I was looking forward to this. A sequel to Pride and Prejudice, written by somebody with a reputation as a good writer should be awesome. But I was unfortunately disappointed.

pdjames_Death-Comes-to-pemberley

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Northanger Abbey (2007)

Northanger Abbey
Director: Jon Jones
Writer: Andrew Davies
Based on: Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Felicity Jones, JJ Feild, Carey Mulligan, Hugh O’Conor, Catherine Walker, Liam Cunningham, Geraldine James, William Beck

Plot:
Catherine Morland (Felicity Jones) is the daughter of a family with a lot of children and not a whole lot of money. She grew up quite the tomboy, but has recently discovered her love for gothic horror novels. So when the Morland’s neighbors the Allens ask Catherine to come with them to Bath, Catherine is overjoyed to accept, expecting finally an adventure like the ones she read about so much. Once there, she meets Isabella Thorpe (Carey Mulligan) and her brother John (William Beck), friends of Catherine’s brother James (Hugh O’Conor). John shows immediate interest in Catherine, but Catherine is much more interested in Henry Tilney (JJ Feild) and his sister Eleanor (Catherine Walker).

After having fallen in love so much with the book, I was kinda apprehensive about the adaptation living up to it. But I need not have been. They really did a very good job with it and the movie is almost as sweet as the book.

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Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen)

Northanger Abbey is a novel by Jane Austen. [Here’s all the other Austen stuff I reviewed.]

Plot:
Catherine Morland is the daughter of a family with a lot of children and not a whole lot of money. She grew up quite the tomboy, but has recently discovered her love for gothic horror novels. So when the Morland’s neighbors the Allens ask Catherine to come with them to Bath, Catherine is overjoyed to accept, expecting finally an adventure like the ones she read about so much. Once there, she meets Isabella Thorpe and her brother John, friends of Catherine’s brother James. John shows immediate interest in Catherine, but Catherine is much more interested in Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor.

I absolutely adored Northanger Abbey. It has a young adult vibe to it that I really enjoyed and it’s the funniest of Austen’s novels I have read so far – a straight send-up of all the gothic horror novels. I think it might have overtaken Pride and Prejudice (though not Emma or Sense and Sensibility) in my personal top Austen books list [We don’t need to mention Mansfield Park because I did not like that]. Let the gushing begin!

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Re-Watch: Clueless (1995)

And coming to a final stop in the big EmmaAdaptationWatching-and-Comparing, we got Clueless, Amy Heckerling‘s modernised adaptation of Jane Austen‘s novel, starring Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer and Jeremy Sisto.

Plot:
Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is a rich LA teenager whose life revolves around her clothes and her friends, most of all Dionne (Stacey Dash). When Cher gets bad grades in her debate class, she decides to set up two of her teachers – Mr Hall (Wallace Shawn) and Miss Geist (Twink Caplan). And since she enjoys playing the matchmaker, she decides to set up the new girl Tai (Brittany Murphy) as well.

I love this movie so much, I can’t even tell you. This migh taint my judgment, but I think it’s pretty much perfect – funny, intelligent and sweet. The only fault I can find with it is that it doesn’t credit Austen at all. [It’s just different enough to not make it completely indecent, but still.]

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