The Fifty Shades famed Dakota Johnson is set to entertain her fans as the lead protagonist of Jane Austen’s 1817 novel Persuasion. She appears on screen as Anne Elliot in this Carrie Cracknell-directed American adaptation of Jane’s novel. The movie Persuasion has been making news since its release on Netflix on July 15, 2022. However, the review for this modern Persuasion movie from its viewers appreciate the actors but respond critically to the screenplay.
Ron Bass and Alice Victoria Winslow wrote the screenplay for this movie. Its Principal photography began in May 2021 near the novel writer’s home, where she dwelled from 1801 to 1806. With an IMDb rating of 5.6, the movie is still open for responses. Therefore, with this article, we will review the Persuasion movie and look for some insights.
Jane Austen, an English novelist from the 18th century, is famous for her six major novels that revolved around the British, landed gentry, and the role of women. Persuasion, along with Northanger Abbey, was one of those novels published posthumously in 1818, six months after her death. Persuasion was her last completed novel, and its protagonist, Anne Elliot, is noteworthy among Jane’s heroines for her relative maturity.
The Star Cast
The story revolves around Anne Elliot (Dakota Johnson), Captain Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis), and Mr. William Elliot (Henry Golding). Other actors include Nikki Amuka-Bird (as Lady Russell), Richard E. Grant (Walter Elliot), Ben Bailey (Charles Musgrove), Mia McKenna-Bruce (Mary Elliot), Nia Towle (Louisa Musgrove), Edward Bluemel (Captain Harvill), etc.
The nineteen years old female protagonist, Anne Elliot, falls in love with a young, confident, ambitious, yet low-social status naval officer, Frederick Wentworth. But persuaded by her well-off friends and family, including her father Walter, elder sister Elizabeth, and a relative, Lady Russell, she breaks up her engagement with Wentworth.
Seven years later, the tables have turned, and so has the financial status of Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth. Anne Elliot lives in a cheaper home in Bath with her family, and Wentworth is now a wealthy Naval Captain. They again meet after so long when Wentworth visits his sister Sophia. But Anne, who still loves Wentworth, needs preparation every time she faces him because he is still mad at her for getting persuaded.
And in between enters the third wheel, cousin William Elliot, an opaque character who flatters Anne. He often mentions how he is fascinated with his future wife’s name already being an Elliot. And obviously, this has caused competition for the male protagonist, Wentworth. However, Captain Wentworth and Anne renew their friendship. Moreover, Anne, who wants to like William but is still doubtful, discovers from Mrs. Smith about this shady character.
She learns that William is a cold and calculating opportunist who left her late husband into debt and did nothing to improve her situation. And after all the drama that follows their love triangle and their families, Anne and Wentworth reunite outside the Musgroves’ hotel in Bath while William leaves. They get married, and Wentworth helps Mrs. Smith recover the remaining assets kept under William.
Jane Austen’s Persuasion is like a great Cinderella story whose likes and dislikes, wishes, and dreams are all unappreciated and exploited by those around her. They even include the ones who claim to value her, like Lady Russell. But this American adaptation seems to portray this classy and most matured of all Austen’s characters with a twist. Unlike the novel, Anne is proudly intelligent and generous, chugs wine, and is allergic to male patronizing. She navigates her life with pleasant boredom communicating to the audience with a winking when she says, “I almost got married once, now I am single and thriving.”
Austen’s heroines were already ahead of their time. Therefore, presenting an even more modernized form is like a hat on a hat. However, what glues you to the seats is Johnson’s gestures and the handsome actors whose chemistry was quite likable. And other supporting characters keep us engaged in the story. Although the end is a bit undigestable as Anne receives an apology from a sailor-turned-captain, who she rejects, the overall movie is worth watching once for Jane’s masterpiece.
This was all in the review of the Persuasion movie.
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