Love & Friendship is a 2016 period comedy film written and directed by Whit Stillman. Based on Jane Austen‘s epistolary novel Lady Susan, written ca. 1794, the film stars Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, and Stephen Fry. The film follows the exploits of the wry and calculating Lady Susan as she pursues the wealthy and hapless Sir James for marriage originally intended for her daughter, though she eventually marries him as her own husband for purposes of wealth and profit. Although adapted from Lady Susan, the film was produced under the borrowed title of Austen’s juvenile story Love and Freindship [sic].
The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2016. Theatrically released on May 13, 2016, by Roadside Attractions and Amazon Studios, the film received critical acclaim and has been a box office success in North America.
In the 1790s, the recently widowed and relatively young Lady Susan Vernon seeks to find a suitably wealthy match for her sole daughter Frederica, and a similarly wealthy husband for herself, in order to renew the state of her fortunes. After being unceremoniously turned out of the Manwaring estate due to her dalliance with the married Lord Manwaring (pronounced “Mannering”), she and her widowed companion Mrs. Cross head to Churchill, the country home of her brother-in-law, Charles Vernon and his wife, Catherine Vernon (née DeCourcy).
Catherine and her brother, Reginald DeCourcy, are aware of Lady Susan’s long-standing reputation as a determined and accomplished flirt. But under the influence of the amiable but dull Charles, Reginald agrees to keep an open mind, and soon finds himself enchanted with Lady Susan. When Reginald’s father, Sir Reginald DeCourcy, catches wind of this, he travels to Churchill to warn Reginald against marrying Lady Susan lest the family name be sullied. But Reginald says their relationship is not romantic.
Lady Susan’s daughter, Frederica, attends a boarding school which Lady Susan cannot afford, but she runs away and is then expelled. Frederica arrives at Churchill and, shortly thereafter, is followed by Sir James Martin, who is very wealthy, sometimes well-meaning, and extremely foolish. For example, upon arrival at Churchill, he explains that he struggled to find the estate as he had been looking for “church hill”, a church and/or a hill. Later, he mentions the “Twelve Commandments” and when told there are only ten, he wonders which two should be disregarded.
While in London, Lady Susan’s relationship with Lord Manwaring suddenly explodes into scandal. Lady Manwaring becomes outraged by the lack of propriety the brashly indiscreet and flirtatious couple are showing in public. Lady Susan makes use of her many charms to convince everyone that a new plan is best for all parties. When the very wealthy and hapless Sir James visits Lady Susan in London, she convinces him that they are a match made in heaven, and that he should abandon his proposal to her daughter Frederica, and marry her, the mother, instead.
Source Page – Wikipedia