Uma pausa no dia para alimentar a mente e o espírito - Compilação dos Melhores artigos encontrados na net
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quinta-feira, 28 de janeiro de 2016
Love & Friendship Sundance review: 'Jane Austen has never been funnier'
Kate Beckinsale is back to her best in this flat-out hilarious adaptation of a Jane Austen novella
How well do Jane Austen and Whit Stillman get along? That’s the decisive question in Love & Friendship, the American director’s adaptation of an early Austen curio, her long-unpublished epistolary novella Lady Susan. It certainly sounds like a dream fit, since caustic comedies of high-society manners are exactly what Stillman does and always has – there’s even a barbed throwaway exchange about Austen in his debut film, Metropolitan.
It’s with ticklish glee, then, that you watch Love & Friendship live up to every possible expectation you could set for it, opening out the adulterous games of Austen’s surprisingly risqué text and elaborating on them with impish, often breathlessly funny verve. It’s flat-out hilarious – find me a funnier screen stab at Austen, and I’m tempted to offer your money back personally. Gliding through its compact 92 minutes with alert photography and not a single scene wasted, it’s also Stillman on the form of his life.
Not the least of his film’s coups is handing Kate Beckinsale her best role in, ooh, 20 years, since she played Emma Woodhouse in Andrew Davies’s 1996 Emma on ITV. Let’s face it, Beckinsale’s action-figurine roles in Hollywood have mostly tended to cramp her style. Here she springs back with a deliciously controlled and self-aware performance, playing the Austen title character as a born manipulator so devious she can spin the rest of the ensemble around her little finger.
The story begins with Lady Susan Vernon newly widowed and trying her luck with the inconveniently married Lord Manwaring – the first character to be introduced by caption, as “a divinely attractive man”, but given a walk-on part and, in a typically dry Stillman touch, no lines whatsoever. To grease the wheels of this dangerous liaison, Susan has packed her poor daughter (perfect, sensitive Morfydd Clark) off to a grim-sounding boarding school, but also aims to ingratiate herself with her late husband’s family, catching the eye of a fetching and gullible young in-law called Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel).
Lady Susan’s confidante in these well-orchestrated indiscretions is a scruple-free American friend called Alicia Johnson, played in a spry, unshockable supporting turn by Chloë Sevigny – an old wingman of Beckinsale’s from an earlier Stillman comedy, The Last Days of Disco. Alicia is married – to Stephen Fry as a gouty killjoy, no less – but Lady Susan openly thinks he’s a bad match for her: “Too old to be governable, and too young to die.”
That line’s paraphrased from Austen, but so much here is ingeniously invented, like the scene where James Fleet, as DeCourcy’s doting but clueless father, agrees to recite a letter to his wife (Jemma Redgrave, superb) and makes a point of dimly including all the punctuation. Stillman has also threaded in a wicked pocket of anti-American insults – “You could be scalped!”, Lady Susan cries to Alicia in alarm, when she hears Fry’s character is threatening a punitive move to Connecticut.
The performances, even from some of the more surprising cast members, are uniformly sharp. It’s one thing for Fry’s cameo to fit in fine, but based on his polished, charming, and perfectly accented romantic lead, you’d never know Samuel was an Australian heartthrob who popped up in a Twilight sequel. The less well-known Tom Bennett, whose scene-stealing efforts should make him every bit as much of a star, grins and grins and understands nothing as the biggest stooge of the lot, a twittering eligible bachelor called Sir James Martin, in whose lap Lady Susan cruelly, and for purely mercenary reasons, intends to dump her hapless daughter.
Most films with this callous a heroine go through some rigmarole of redeeming her, but Stillman is completely uninterested in lessening the fun at any point, and lets compassion shine through in Austen’s other characters instead. His film takes the shape of an elegant mid-season ball with an immaculate witch presiding.
Beckinsale doesn’t miss a beat in responding with mere distaste to every wholly accurate slur levelled against her character – “Facts are horrid things,” she ruefully declares. Delivering all Lady Susan’s pirouettes of self-justification without ever landing too heavily, she’s gloriously bang on the money. Perhaps only by reading the book after you’ve seen this is the skill of Stillman’s treatment to be fully grasped – it’s one of the deftest feats of literary interpolation in ages. And it grafts wicked surprises – things even Austen didn’t quite dare conceive, plot-wise – right onto the merry finale.