Movie review: Love & Friendship

Billy Crystal from When Harry Met Sally was almost unrecognizable in The Princess Bride.

Love-FriendshipThe Wife suggested that we see Love & Friendship at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany. I had no idea what it was, except that it was based on some Jane Austen novella, “Lady Susan”, which I had never heard of. The movie was written and directed by Whit Stillman.

In its favor: the opening credits, which moved along to the music. Overlays to explain who each character was, some rather humorously rendered. And the always scheming Lady Susan Vernon, played by Kate Beckinsale, who is trying to fix up her daughter Frederica, and herself.

I associate English actress Beckinsale with action pics such as Total Recall and Van Helsing, but she had been in a TV movie, Emma, also based on an Austen work.

Even with the clues, it was a tad difficult to keep many of the characters straight, with the exceptions of Tom Bennett as the silly Sir James Martin, and the distinctive-looking Chloë Sevigny as Alicia Johnson, “the American.”. I chuckled a few times. The Wife liked it more than I, though we both found it too talky. But the women across the aisle found it uproarious.

Interesting that Rotten Tomatoes gave Love & Friendship 99% positive reviews with the critics, but only 69% with the fans. It’s a good film, but not everyone’s cup of tea.

The Princess Bride

The nearby Madison Theatre has been showing classic movies fortnightly on Sunday afternoons in the summer for only 35 cents a customer. The Princess Bride (1987) is one of several movies directed by Rob Reiner that I enjoyed from that period (1984-1995): This Is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, A Few Good Men, and The American President.

And a couple of those actors show up here: Spinal Tap’s Christopher Guest as the evil Count Rugen, Billy Crystal from When Harry… as Miracle Max, unrecognizable to my wife.

I remembered almost all of this: the banter of the framing story between Grandpa and his grandson (Peter Falk, Fred Savage), Wallace Shawn as the bossy Vizzini, and Robin Wright as Buttercup in her first film.

The only major thing I forgot was how Westley (Cary Elwes) met up again with Inigo Montoya (the wonderful) Mandy Patinkin and Fezzik (André the Giant).

The place was nearly packed. A great outing.

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