Love and Friendship has landed!


The Editrix is, at present, on her way to the Sundance Film Festival to see Love and Friendship on Sunday night! Stay tuned to AustenBlog and our Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr pages for updates. (Everything will make it back here eventually.)


The excitement is beginning…firstly, for those wondering when everyone not struggling through blizzards and airline terminals without charging stations (seriously? Did we slip back into the 1990s unawares?) to get to Utah will be able to see the film, it will stream on Amazon in the U.S. (it is not clear to us if that means only for those with a subscription to Prime, or if anyone can pay to rent it) and we believe will also have a theatrical run, probably at your local indie cinema. We can’t speak to other countries quite yet.

Vanity Fair also has an interview with Whit Stillman about the film. 

On the eve of the film’s January 23 premiere at Sundance, Stillman—who also has a deal with Little, Brown for a tie-in novel, due out in August

Tie-in novel? Wait, isn’t there already…never mind. (We imagine that means it’s in novel format rather than the epistolary novella. But, yes.)

I actually was wrong-footed with Jane Austen. In college, I made the mistake of reading her too early, with the wrong book. So I started, sophomore year, with Northanger Abbey. And I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t get it. And I would loudly tell people that she was overrated and bad for a long time.

Well, hopefully he’s read it again! We’re happy to discuss it. WE WILL MAKE YOU LOVE IT, WHIT.

That brings up a question. You’re a master of dialogue and don’t need any help in that area. But with Love & Friendship, because there was source material, you must have ended up leaning on Austen for dialogue. How did that work out?

Yeah. It’s really rich in Austen dialogue. The problem was that she was still writing in the 18th-century epistolary form—letters between characters. And we were trying to change the letters into scenes and dialogue. And that’s one reason why it was very helpful to me that I didn’t have any deal with this project—it was just on my own. I didn’t tell anyone about it and just worked on it when I didn’t have to work on other things. To make it playable took years and years.

We re-read Lady Susan on the plane and took notes (the very nice gentleman in the next seat asked us, “Are you an academic?” and we said, “No, just a nerd”) and we will keep an eye on certain things.

So while we gave a bit of side-eye to a few things in this interview, we’re flying across the bloody country in the teeth of a blizzard to see the movie, so obviously we’re hoping for good things. We are seeing the film Sunday night–we couldn’t get tickets to the Saturday premiere–and will report back as soon as possible.

We’ve also been seeing a lot of commentary on Facebook about the costumes pictured in the VF article, which we stole for this blog post for educational purposes. “Where are the Regency gowns?” many are asking. The late Austen scholar Brian Southam has estimated that Austen wrote Lady Susan in 1793-1794, so Regency gowns would not be appropriate. However, the gowns pictured seem to be from a few years prior to that date. By 1794, fashion plates are already showing a transition to a higher waist with a very full skirt, which lasted until around 1800, when the slimmer, Greek statuary-inspired look that we all think of as “Regency” became popular. (We welcome those with more expertise to join the conversation…we can just link to photos.) Anyway, they may be a little off, but in our opinion not egregiously so. There has definitely been an attempt to get the details correct, and perhaps the filmmakers have purposely set the film a few years earlier than Austen wrote it.

And now we must run if we want to get some fro-yo before getting on the second leg of our flight (and we do).

8 thoughts on “Love and Friendship has landed!

  1. Julia

    I really don’t care for “accurate” waistlines when this film does justice to Austen’s wit and genius for once. And I have (unreasonably?) high hopes this time. Looking forward to your review/snark …

    Liked by 2 people

  2. How exciting, can’t wait to see the first adaptation of Lady Susan!! I hope it will make its way to this side of the pond very soon.

    Can imagine Whit having a challenging time adapting an epistolary novel on-screen. If Jane Austen herself had found the novel good enough for publishing (or, rather, appropriate enough), I’m sure she’d have revised it. Perhaps it would indeed help having the novel rewritten into an easy reader with dialogue, to introduce the story to popular audiences.

    I think that the costumes are definitely a step towards the right direction. Considering the date when it was written, perhaps most of the Pride and Prejudice characters would have been wearing dresses like these, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Except, unlike Lady Susan, “First Impressions” (as the book was when it was first written in the 1790’s) was REVISED in the 1810’s before publication and became what we know it as today, and part of the revision was to bring it up to date. So 1810’s dresses for P&P are definitely more accurate in my opinion. 🙂

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  3. I think it’s extremely unlikely that Whit Stillman hasn’t re-read the books since his sophomore year at Harvard. His first movie (Metropolitan) is about a heroine who loves Mansfield Park, but likes a boy who doesn’t like Jane Austen (based on Lionel Trilling’s criticism, the character doesn’t actually read novels). I think the 2 characters represent Stillman’s mature reading and immature reading of her books.

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