Sometimes the plot of a film is a little bit difficult to get behind. The quest for a woman to find a wealthy man to marry her daughter off to is not exciting to me, and I can’t really imagine anybody hearing that and thinking ‘oh… that sounds interesting’. Having said that, this has a similar plot to Pride and Prejudice, and that’s being remade all the time. This story is also written by Jane Austen (originally a novella titled ‘Lady Susan’), so perhaps there is an audience for period dramas about gold diggers?
Lady Susan Vernon is a woman with a bad reputation. After her husband dies, she’s left without a fortune and without a country estate to live in and is forced to take up residence in the home of her in-laws. Whilst there, she takes it upon herself to find a wealthy (and apparently stupid) man to marry her daughter and someone for herself too.
As I’ve already said, this story is tough to get behind, so it needed to have very a very likeable cast of characters, especially Lady Susan herself. Kate Beckinsale is charming and pleasant as usual, but even she couldn’t make such a horrible person a nice character. She spends the whole film lying to her friends, insulting everyone behind their backs, thinking she’s more intelligent than she is, and trying to force her daughter into a marriage she doesn’t want to be a part of, and it’s all played for laughs.
There is one quite funny character (as this film is meant to be a comedy) in the form of Tom Bennett’s Sir James Martin, a man described as being ‘a bit of a rattle’, but even his addition to the story doesn’t make it particularly interesting. Some nice directorial flare is on show from Whit Stillman, who does well at introducing characters in a unique and humorous way, but overall this film is lacking anything to give it any real appeal.
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