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  • Persuasion
    • Persuasion
    • Runtime:107 min
    • Release Date:2014-10-02 14:22:32
    • Director: Roger Michell
    • Genres: Drama, Romance
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Persuasion
Auhtor:

   

This is one of my favourite Jane Austen dramatisations. I really like
it for three reasons: 1) Amanda Root is outstandingly good as Anne
Elliot. She really captures the character to perfection, and it is a
hard part to act, too, since in many scenes, especially in the first
half, she is simply listening to other people, and all of her emotions
are conveyed by means of facial expressions and body language.

2) The musical score. So many Jane Austen adaptations use an orchestral
score. This one sticks to simple piano accompaniment and it works very
well indeed.

3) The supporting cast. A lot of the supporting characters really come
to life, thanks to excellent ensemble playing from the likes of Susan
Fleetwood as Lady Russell, Robert Glenister as Captain Harville, Fiona
Shaw as Mrs Croft and Simon Russell Beale as Charles Musgrove.

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I watched this adaptation only yesterday and watched it again today. I
simply fell in love with it. It is not as lively or modern as the
version from 2007 which is why I like it so much. I love the pace of
the story and how every frame is carefully planned. The director and
producers have taken the time to really tell the story with beauty and
respect. We have the time to really get to know the characters.

The problem with the newer adaptations of Jane Austens works is that
they almost force the story and characters upon us in the most obvious
ways. There is no authenticity and natural flow. In this film we get to
know Anne very well even though she is silent and drawn back throughout
most of the film. That is great acting and great storytelling.

What is really important to understand is that you cannot always
compare the adaptations to the original source as they are two
completely different forms of art but as long as the film or TV series
is true to the characters and spirit of the book it usually turns out
very well.

Reading other reviews I am amazed that some people comment on the
characters looks and appearances, saying they are not pretty enough. I
think that Amanda Root does an amazing job portraying Anne. She has an
inner glow and intelligence, that has died and he has lost her bloom,
but it slowly comes back as the story progresses. It has nothing to do
with looks and looks aren't that important.

Of course the film has it's flaws. It's doesn't stay true to all the
characters and the two leading actors might be a little to old but I am
willing to overlook that because of their wonderful performances.

Avoid the 2007 version. This is the one to watch.

This is without a doubt one of the best Jane Austen adaptations out
there alongside Pride & Prejudice from 1995.

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*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although I have read all of Jane Austen, I am not a particular fan; I
prefer her over any Brontë, but far prefer Eliot, Dickens, and Hardy
over the lot of them. My favorite of her novels is her last,
Persuasion, so I was poised to have my high hopes dashed. But this film
exceeded even elevated expectations for reasons visual, verbal– and
reverential (the marvelous Ciarán Hinds as Captain Wentworth).

Visual, first. Film adaptations of Austen (and her ilk) generally
deliver a touch of grime along with glamor, but it's invariably
picturesque: the tattered and torn peasants and ruffians are
museum-quality. Not here. Director Roger Michel gets plain old mud on
the skirts of his ladies during their long walks. Bad and/or yellow
teeth abound, as they did in 1814, nowhere more notoriously than in
England. Such small details are big indicators of how Michel, like
Austen, prefers honest naturalism to pure aestheticism. Ivory-tower
film-making is left to the likes of Merchant and Ivory.

I hasten to add, however, that Michel also left the costume design to a
very talented 33-year old, Alexandra Byrne, who has gone on to win an
Oscar (for Elizabethan togs). Her Empire dresses and Royal navy
chapeau-bras will not leave you wistful for Greer Garson wearing
Adrian.

As to the verbal: The screenplay perpetuates, as it must, Austen's
repair to caricature for her satire. It is one of the author's
failings, and it is writ large here; protagonist Anne (delicately
brought to life by Amanda Root) is the only member of the Elliott
family who isn't a grotesque: vain Sir Walter, strident Elizabeth,
narcissistic Mary–all lack complexity, as do most of the women and
many of the men. The caricatures do, however, provide comic context for
the heart of the story. The number of times dutiful, plain Anne is
influenced by persuasion from one buffoon or another is effectively
stifling, and is therefore one of the ways in which this film
adaptation truly reflects the novel.

But this is cinema, not literature. Certain key moments in the film,
some of them silent, reveal more than the dialog does to attentive
viewers . At the shore in Lyme, all characters but two play with the
sand and the surf; the two are Wentworth, who stares out at his true
home, the sea, and Anne, who also simply gazes serenely out over the
water toward— freedom? adventure? Wentworth's true home? It sets Anne
apart with lovely subtlety. Another moment occurs at the end (which
returns to the opening scene, with ships), when she and Wentworth set
sail. At the sight of their the full-rigged ship, I felt a tug toward
freedom, too, away from all the persuasive pressures of society.
Wentworth's ship, now her home too, truly did feel like independence,
perhaps especially for a woman whose horizons in the early 19th century
were still barbarically circumscribed.

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