Love & Friendship

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Love & Friendship Movie Poster Image
Wickedly funny adaptation based on Austen novella.
  • PG
  • 2016
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Cynicism and hope clash in terms of looking at marriage for practical purposes vs. marriage for love. While the cynical, practical side is more fun (and funnier), the romantic, hopeful side does get a fair shake.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The most vivid, memorable character is also the most cunning and manipulative. She's smart and strong, but that's relative, since the movie is set in the 1800s; her power is based on her looks and wits. She's also remarkably cynical. Other characters exhibit a range of qualities, from well-intentioned and innocent to complicit and scheming.


Mild threat, passionate discussions.


Discussions of marriage and relationships between men and women. Mentions of cheating partners.


Some insults, such as "fiend," "fool," "blockhead," "peabrain," "hateful."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Background social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Love & Friendship is a funny, fast-paced romantic drama adapted from an obscure, early Jane Austen text. While it deals largely with adult situations -- such as discussions of marriage and cheating, as well as manipulation and passionate discussions -- there's almost zero iffy content, so it's appropriate for tweens and up (as long as they can follow the complex language and intricate plot). The most vivid character is smart and strong, but she's also extremely manipulative and isn't afraid to use her looks and wits to get what she wants.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySammieGirl76 August 14, 2018

Excellent and beautifully done!A++

I say children should know more about this period of history.
Rock on Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen - the past was beautiful and very genteel. If you are Am... Continue reading
Adult Written byHelen M. October 27, 2017

Quirky, Often Humorous take on Period Drama Genre

Families need to know that this witty, fast-paced drama is an almost metaphorical parody on life during Victorian-era England. As it is definitely an acquired t... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byPensieve November 6, 2020

Hilariously Witty and Wordy Adaptation

Love and Friendship is one of the few movies that can make me laugh out loud.
It showcases stellar acting and beautiful sets, but the crowning jewel is the dia... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 19, 2016

Really goo

this is really good however many children younger than 10 and 11 might not understand the whole concept of the movie however in other words really good

What's the story?

The beautiful, cunning, manipulative Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale) is recently widowed and much gossiped about in LOVE & FRIENDSHIP. Regularly discussing her plans with her American friend, Alicia (Chloe Sevigny), Susan decides to visit her brother-in-law, Charles (Justin Edwards), and his wife, Catherine (Emma Greenwell), at their country estate. Susan's plan is to secure her financial future by landing a well-off husband, so she goes to work on her sister-in-law's younger brother, Reginald De Courcy (Xavier Samuel). Unexpectedly, Susan's teenage daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark), turns up, having run into issues at school. Selfishly, Susan attempts to match Frederica with the doltish, jabbering Sir James (Tom Bennett). But real love (and friendship) has a way of turning up, despite best-laid plans.

Is it any good?

A chronicler of well-read, well-spoken, upper-crust characters, writer/director Whit Stillman is perfectly, delightfully suited to Jane Austen, bringing a cheerful wickedness to her story. For Love & Friendship, Stillman apparently re-worked an early novella of Austen's called Lady Susan, and his sensibility miraculously meshes with hers. His penchant for characters who walk and talk makes an easy transition to 19th-century England.

The movie's beautiful, airy design, cinematography, and editing bring everything to life without making it feel like a stodgy, stuffy costume epic. Stillman's humorous, irreverent character introductions further eschew the traditional approach to literary adaptations. Playing perhaps Austen's prickliest character, Beckinsale (who was also in Stillman's The Last Days of Disco) has arguably her best role, and she plays it effortlessly. She's matched by Bennett, who brings a hilariously confident cluelessness to his Sir James.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Love & Friendship's use of sex appeal for manipulation and power. Is this acceptable in terms of the story? How much sexual content in media is appropriate for kids?

  • Does Lady Susan's behavior cause bad feelings in anyone around her? Which characters, and why? What are the consequences of those feelings?

  • How does this story compare to other Jane Austen books you may have read -- or movie/TV adaptations you've seen?

  • How are attitudes concerning love, gender roles, and economic class shown? How have things changed since the 1800s -- and how haven't they?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love literature

Themes & Topics

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