Despite the Twitter wars of distaste or curiosity for more Austen, Netflix brings us Persuasion (2022). The first Netflix film to tackle Austen in her original setting, this film is… interesting.
Persuasion Netflix Film Review
Being the middle child in a family that just doesn’t quite accept her, Anne Elliot (Dakota Johnson) is used to being an outcast. Eight years ago, Anne loved and allowed herself to be persuaded to let him go because, by the standards of her wealthy family, he just wouldn’t do. Now, she remains unmarried and still ill treated by her vain father (Richard E. Grant), and equally frivolous sister Elizabeth (Yolanda Kettle).‘PERSUASION’ NETFLIX REVIEW: HOW MODERN WRITERS SEE THE BELOVED ROMANCE #PERSUASIONNETFLIX #PERSUASION #NETFLIX #NETFLIXREVIEWS #NETFLIXMOVIES #ROMANCE #PERIODROMANCE #ROMANCEMOVIES #PERIODDRAMA Click To Tweet
Bankrupt, the family must leave their grand home, let it out and leave for Bath under the guise they aren’t as bad off as they are. Through all of this, Anne learns that Fredrick Wentworth (Cosmos Jarvis) is returned to England, and unlike the man whom she loved eight years ago, Fredrick is now distinguished and a wealthy Navy captain.
While I try to always be mindful in any reviews I share, I will warn you, there will be some, depending on your viewpoint, spoilers below. I suspect these thoughts will also ruffle some feathers.
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Anytime writers take on a project by someone like Bronte or as is the case here, Austen, likely they input their viewpoints. Sometimes they take the approach of, “Austen would appreciate this” or “this is what Austen really would have written.” Generally speaking, I don’t agree with this because I think what these authors write, stands fine. I think Austen writes stories with memorable, albeit sometimes crazy, characters. That said, of course I can enjoy a production that is more inspired by than traditional Jane Austen.
Nonetheless, this film isn’t great. Some of the period drama films that are “based on” novels do take a modern approach; and I like some. This adaptation isn’t a new favorite or one I hate (as a modernized period drama). However, I genuinely don’t think this Anne is Jane’s Anne. The script is painfully (so much so it tries too hard?) modern and uses voiceover (Anne) in an attempt to be playful.
Then there is the fact that our heroine is something of a drinker. She drinks alone in the dark, wakes and is a bit hungover. She embarrasses herself (based on her reaction) twice while in a bit of a stupor. It’s all a bit strange, and again those modern influences creep through. For me, whether the film is modernized or not, in any period drama, this isn’t what I want. If I want to see someone using alcohol to forget, there’s countless options for that. Instead, part of the reason I watch period drama is to escape overtly modern cliches.
The costuming can be pretty if not totally authentic and is certainly more “tousled” (Anne and Wentworth) than polished. Some of the seaside scenes are quite pretty and for the most part, the cast is pretty good too and primarily full of newcomers.
Honestly, for me, this still isn’t THE version of Persuasion I’ll adore in the way everyone has a version of Pride and Prejudice. I do wish that the second version were still in production because now I’d be curious to see how filmmakers would adapt it. What this does remind me of is the stylings of Emma. from 2020. This one also plays on some flirting here and there, which can be cute. Without the expectation of proper Jane Austen, watching a period drama can sometimes be a pleasant way to spend an evening. That’s probably the best way to go into watching this.
You can find Persuasion on Netflix
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Content: There is some minor suggestive humor, but nothing abusing its PG rating. A woman has a violent fall that impacts her head.