Produced by and starring Alicia Witt (popular on Hallmark), this modern re-make of Jane Austen’s Persuasion isn’t anything to write home about. Ps; this review will be more of a “general” spoiler’s kind of review.
Modern Persuasion (2020) Film Review
Putting in the hard work and climbing ranks in her career is what consumes the life of Wren (Witt). Her company downsizes and as a result, her bosses want her and their team to make their newest potential client happy. Usually no problem, Wren is always prompt and professional… until today. You see, today, her company is about to pitch to the wealthy Owen Jasper (Shane McRae) who happens to be Wren’s long-ago ex.
As she struggles to do business with Owen, and the pair tries to find their footing, two men enter Wren’s life, perhaps with an impact on her future.
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I’d seen something in passing about this film back when it first released, and because of that, I never watched it. In addition to this, I don’t love one of the lead cast members, so despite this being an Austen re-telling, nothing urged me to see this. However, as it’s on Hulu, I finally watched it with much the result my movie meter said I’d have.
Persuasion by Austen is one of my favorite stories (as adaptations since I’ve never read the book), but this is one of the modern movies that doesn’t capture her vision. As a result, it doesn’t capture the feeling of the story. I do appreciate how they try to incorporate the letter and in some ways it works, but ultimately, I think even it fails. There’s certain sweetness in the act, but it doesn’t pass the Austen test. Then there are the many and multiple contemporary references related to social or hot topic issues. It feels awkward, forced and fully unnecessary. What these things do is send a culture backwards, not forward.
If none of this affects you or doesn’t make a difference to whether or not you enjoy something, then you might like Modern Persuasion. Loathe as I am to say this, and I think in these recent years, I don’t, I just cannot like this one. It’s “too much” in its pursuit to be accepted, and that is its greatest tragedy.
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You can find Modern Persuasion (2020) digitally on Amazon Video; or at publication, it’s with Hulu.
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Content: there are sexual references though nothing terribly graphic. Two of Wren’s co-workers are pretty promiscuous (implied) and aren’t afraid to let a guy know they think he’s hot or they “want” him. There’s a same-sex couple and some implications two couples, on two separate occasions sneak off to have sex. There is some profanity, but nothing beyond what its PG-13 rating says is appropriate.
Photos: Samuel Goldwyn / Myriad Pictures