Kate Beckinsale in a scene from "Love & Friendship."
Bernard Walsh/Roadside Attractions via AP
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It was the comedy, not the romance, in Jane Austen's work that drew writer-director Whit Stillman to her unfinished novella "Lady Susan".Romance is but a trifle for Lady Susan Vernon, considered "the most accomplished flirt in all England," and her callousness breeds comedy, briskly delivered here in stylized language. In opulent costumes and a mountainous tumble of curls, Beckinsale's Lady Susan is immaculate in her appearance and delivery of Stillman's well-crafted prose.That doesn't stop them from meeting at intervals along the way, when Lady Susan recaps for Alicia the various romantic goings-on.Lady Susan may be a progressive woman – especially in the 1700s – but she's so steely and cold, any feeling person would have trouble connecting.
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