Love & Friendship is undoubtedly a showcase for Kate Beckinsale, whose sharp and conniving Lady Susan Vernon—a recent widow with no fortune and a teen daughter to marry off—has such a silky way with words that it almost feels good to be at the stinging end of one of her insults. Yet the added delight of the movie, written and directed by Whit Stillman and based on a Jane Austen novella, is the way it gives everyone in the ensemble cast a chance to demonstrate their own particular charms (or lack of them, in the case of Tom Bennett as a dim-witted suitor who plays with his peas). Stillman stages this as a comedy in every moment, which is the right choice. I’ve seen Austen adaptations that are more romantic, but few that are so hilarious. Perhaps this is the more faithful approach.