Trailer: Emily Mortimer’s ‘The Pursuit of Love’ is an Utterly Irreverent Romp

In the trailer for the upcoming period series The Pursuit of Love (wanna guess what it’s about?), we hear a voice asking protagonist Linda Radlett, “So you aspire to being wicked and adulterous, do you?” To which she ostensibly forthrightly counters, “No, I aspire to true love.” It is followed by a scornfully hearty and condescendingly sneering belly laugh by Dominic West’s Uncle Matthew – and though it is two scenes spliced together, the tone is nevertheless definitively set.

Of course, the daunting undertaking described in the title is generally good for a few bawdy laughs anyway, but usually even more and bigger anguished tears. And though said trailer focuses very much on the cheeky bits, Pursuit… promises a few enlightening insights into matters of the heart, as well. Coming to Amazon Prime via the BBC on July 30, it’s written and directed by the glorious Emily Mortimer (whom we would guess most of the sentient human populace has had an intractable crush on since her breakout role in 2003’s Bright Young Things), and stars Lily James as the romp-obsessed Radlett who, despite her sexual inclinations, really just wants to be loved.

Based on the 1945 Nancy Mitford novel of the same name – possible alternative title: Sex & The English Countryside – it was filmed in and around Bristol and the ever so majestic Bath, Somerset, and so comes with the requisite visual pomp of all your best Brit period pieces. But the script instead tends towards the sassy and the saucy, its characters tossing off lines like, “An adulterous woman is the single most disgusting thing there is,” and “I do feel like a terrible old black sheep,” with insolent/snarky panache. Clever ripostes abound – at one point James Frenchville’s hunky Commie revolutionary Christian Talbot requests of a near naked Linda, “Come fight the fascists with me,” and she giddily replies, “Better get dressed first.”

There’s lots of champers and fancy cocktails being quaffed, a few cigarettes being puffed, the here and there crack of a whip or two, and a couple of untitillating stripping scenes – so yes, a right old riot all around. It helps, certainly, that it’s all soundtracked by Roxy Music’s equally sneery classic ‘The In Crowd,’ with its cutting lyric, “I don’t care where you’ve been / You ain’t been nowhere till you been in with ‘in’ crowd.” But Ms. Radlett is also earnestly in, as the title reminds us, the pursuit of genuinely life-completing romantic fulfillment – so all the snark will surely ultimately wend its way to some or other substantive, nay illuminating conclusion…or will it?

Oh, and did we mention it’s written and directed by Emily Mortimer? So, obviously…utterly unmissable.

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