Story

Love & Friendship is based on the Jane Austen novella, Lady Susan, and is an irreverent look at the life of the upper classes in the late 18th century. Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) is an attractive, witty and manipulative widow, who is very used to getting her own way. She is determined that her daughter Frederica Vernon (Morfydd Clark) will get a good education and marry the likeable, dim-witted and rich Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett). Frederica herself is vehemently opposed to the marriage.

Lady Susan is also interested in finding a new husband for herself. She goes to live with her sister-in-law Catherine DeCourcy Vernon (Emma Greenwell) and shows interest in Catherine’s younger, handsome brother Reginald (Xavier Samuel). This concerns Catherine and her parents, Lord and Lady DeCourcy (James Fleet and Jemma Redgrave).

Meanwhile it emerges that Lady Susan has been having a secret affair with Lord Manwaring (Lochlann O’Mearáin), and his wife Lady Manwaring (Jean Murray) becomes aware of this. The interweaving of loves and friendships is quite complex and has surprising results.

Themes

Infidelity; adultery; relationships

Violence

Nothing of concern

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
Nothing of concern

From 5-8
Nothing of concern

From 8-13
Nothing of concern

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Love & Friendship has some sexual references. For example:

  • It is implied that Lady Susan is deceiving both Reginald and Lord Manwaring (nothing is actually shown).
  • Lady Manwaring accuses Lady Susan of having an affair with her husband.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Love & Friendship shows some use of substances, including when character drink socially at a wedding.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

There is no product placement in Love & Friendship.

Coarse language

None

Ideas to discuss with your children

Love & Friendship is a romantic comedy set in the late 18th century. It has lavish costumes and sets. It’s also fast-paced and clever with an intricate plot that interweaves relationships. For this reason, the movie is more suitable for older teenagers and adults, although there’s nothing violent or scary in the movie.

The main message from Love & Friendship is that women in this period could rely on little but their wits and charm to succeed in life. You might like to talk with your children about Lady Susan’s behaviour – whether it’s justified by her situation and what else she could do.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include determination and strength of character.