The empire-waisted wonders of Jane Austen's world once again get the cinematic treatment in Love & Friendship, out on May 13.
The immensely enjoyable film — directed by Whit Stillman — is based on Lady Susan, a posthumously published early epistolary novel of Austen's. Love & Friendship follows the always-plotting widow Lady Susan Vernon, played with a devilish edge by Kate Beckinsale. Lady Susan slides through society attempting to get exactly what she wants, no matter what the cost to others. She's an antihero with an Austen touch.
Of course, this is far from the first time we've seen Austen's work translated to a screen, big or small. During 1995 and 1996, the author was all the rage in Hollywood. Another revival in Austen-interest peaked in the middle of the last decade.
Here, we're cataloguing the most acclaimed adaptations and the ones that were widely panned. And just to be sure we stay somewhat objective, we sought the counsel of Claire Bellanti, president of the Jane Austen Society of North America. While Bellanti was careful to note that JASNA doesn't wish to "endorse" films — hoping that any and all versions will draw audiences to Austen's writings — Bellanti shared some comments regarding her personal favourites. Lauren Thompson, tour guide at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England, also shared her recommendations with Refinery29.
So, read on, dear friend. And hey, we got through this without making a "truth universally acknowledged" reference.