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Chloë Sevigny and Kate Beckinale in 'Love & Friendship' (Photo: Ross McDonnell)

Whit Stillman meets Jane Austen? What a perfect pairing.

Stillman, famous for modern comedies of manners like Metropolitan and Barcelona, has taken as inspiration for his latest movie a little-known novella by Austen, a writer famous for, well, comedies of manners.

Love & Friendship tells the story of Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale), a manipulative, charming widow who seeks refuge at her in-laws’ estate, a classic stately home in the English countryside, having run through her late husband’s fortune. Of course it wouldn’t be an Austen story if marriage wasn’t on the cards, and Love & Friendship certainly delivers: Lady Susan is not only on the prowl for hubby No. 2, but trying to marry off her daughter as well.

Beckinsale is joined by Chloë Sevigny, her co-star in Stillman’s 1998 romantic comedy The Last Days of Disco, and a supporting cast that includes Xavier Samuel as Reginald DeCourcy and Stephen Fry as Mr. Johnson.

If the trailer is anything to go by, it combines Austen’s wit with Stillman’s gift for comedy:

Love & Friendship opens in theaters on May 13.

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.