Whit Stillman’s film from his own screenplay adaptation of the novella LADY SUSAN by Jane Austen is in many ways a revelation and totally delightful in it’s execution. The cinematography by Richard Van Oosterhout, the costumes by Eimer Ni Mhaoldmhnaigh and the music by Benjamin Esdraffo are alone all worth the price of admission, but the jewel of the production is the direction, writing and the magnificent cast lead by Kate Beckinsale as Lady Susan Vernon who could find herself in serious contention to win the Oscar as Best Actress, along with Tom Bennett as Sir James Martin (who gives new meaning to the word dense) as Best Supporting Actor. The excellent cast also includes Morfydd Clark, Jenn Murray, Lochlann O’Mearain, Sophie Radermacher, Chloe Sevigny, Stephen Fry, Emma Greenwall, Justin Edwards and a particularly good Xavier Samuels. Though I found certain portions of the film a bit cold and off putting because of the machinations of Lady Susan and how she plays people like a game of chess, the merits far out way any reservations I may have had. This is very typical high end English humor and much may be lost on American audiences not used to subtle humor, unless of course they’re being hit over the head with a frying pan. It’s rare to see a film of this quality and so my hat is off to Whit Stillman for bringing this small gem to the screen.
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