Jane Austen once wrote in her her novel Persuasion, "I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives." Indeed, Austen wasn't afraid to show the shortcomings of the society she was a part of and that detail is what upholds her legacy today.
Yes, many of her works involve romance and the possibility of marriage but there's so much more to Austen's written words. She examines the plights of her era's social norms, how women were expected to be nothing more than dutiful wives and mothers.
But as her novella Lady Susan shows, not every woman is destined for an untarnished reputation. Told through a series of letters, it revolves around the titular young widow as she tries to arrange engagements for both her and her daughter. And whispers about her behavior start spreading among her friends and family.
Though borrowing its title from a completely different work of Austen's Whit Stillman's Love & Friendship stays mostly true to the novella. With a playful turn from Kate Beckinsale (and Tom Bennett stealing every scene he's in), it's the kind of work that would make Austen proud. (Out of curiosity, why do women so seldom adapt Austen?)
Between Lady Susan and Love & Friendship, both works depict the lead character as more than just the dainty figure fiction often puts them in. But while Austen shines more of a light on society's standards, Stillman focuses more on the people within said society. So which one's better?
What's worth checking out?: Both.