A best friend during Victorian times was someone who could write copious letters without hand cramps.
Fortunately, the friends in this romantic-comedy meet face-to-face on occasion.
Unable to obtain her deceased husband's fortunes due to previous liaisons, Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale) must find her daughter (Morfydd Clark) a prosperous suitor to keep their high society standings.
Her plan plays out at her brother's country estate – and through correspondence with her American friend (Chloë Sevigny) – where she hopes to pawn off her first-born on dimwitted Sir James (Tom Bennett), and claim her brother's friend (Xavier Samuel) for herself.
But her past indiscretions and an unplanned pregnancy threaten her plot.
One of very few period comedies around, this adaptation of communiqués composed by Jane Austen is quite cheeky, whilst remaining rather proper. More surprising is Beckinsale's performance as the coquettish countess.
Thankfully, nowadays, daughters can pick their own rich husband to marry.