Persuasion review: The Netflix movie is an absolute disaster

Persuasion review: The Netflix movie is an absolute disaster

It’s hard to overstate how bad Netflix is Persuasion is, and in how many ways.

Like an imitation of the Netflix hit Bridgerton, Persuasion is a pale copy. As he aims for the candy-coated Régence pastiche that Bridgerton made fashionable, it is too solidly convinced of its own virtues to revel in the foam that makes Bridgerton so satisfying. He monkeys BridgertonThe cheeky anachronisms (“A 5 in London is a 10 in Bath!”) as if his audience should regard them as revelations rather than weak jokes now more than tired.

As a showcase for Dakota Johnson, it’s a disappointment. Johnson’s easy screen presence has been the redeeming factor of many bad films before this one, but in the lead role of Anne Elliot, she does nothing to alleviate Persuasion as he swings on his emotional pendulum from austere to dull. Instead, she winks at the camera with her best Jim-de-Office smirking, as if to say, “Don’t we all agree that’s lovely?” We are not.

As an adaptation of Jane Austen Persuasion, it is a disaster. Where Austen’s original is devastating in its restraint, this film is broad in its humor, superficial in its emotions, and clunky in its characterization. Unforgivably, it ruins one of Austen’s most romantic moments, undermining the iconic letter-writing scene until it loses all internal logic and, with it, all emotional power.

Taken for itself, purely as a movie, Persuasion is just bad. It’s boring. It’s not romantic. It’s not funny. It’s not sad. He seems to have no reason to exist – and why he ends up offering himself is frankly insulting to everyone involved.

Persuasion, directed by Carrie Cracknell and with a screenplay by Ron Bass and Alice Victoria Winslow, loosely follows the plot of Austen’s original. Anne Elliot – rich, pretty and charming – was once madly in love with penniless young sailor Frederick Wentworth. They were engaged. But Anne’s friends and relatives convinced her that she shouldn’t throw herself at 19 on a man with no money and few prospects, and so she broke Wentworth’s heart.

When the novel and the film open, it is eight years later. Anne never got over Wentworth, but she is now single, resigned to devoting her life to caring for her sisters and her sister’s children. Wentworth, meanwhile, became a captain in the navy. He is now rich and respectable, looking for a wife of his own, and still furious with Anne for ending their relationship the way she did. And circumstances have conspired to make him a guest at his sister’s house while Anne is also staying there.

Anne of Austen reacts to these circumstances as she reacts to most things: by remaining outwardly as calm and collected as possible, while being tortured internally. The tension between the social pressures Anne is forced to deal with and her deep emotional pain is part of what drives Austen Persuasion before, which makes it so heartbreaking to read.

This type of inner division is admittedly difficult to dramatize on screen. The solution that Cracknell and his collaborators have invented is certainly new: they have completely got rid of it.

At Netflix Persuasion, Anne takes on the mannerisms of the heroine of a 90s romantic comedy, crying in the bathtub, crying into copious amounts of red wine, crying as she accidentally falls while pouring sauce on her head. When she’s not crying, she’s either assaulting the weaknesses of her loved ones on camera, or blurting nonsequences in awkward social situations. “Sometimes I dream of an octopus sucking my face,” she tells one party.

Wentworth, meanwhile, has lost the refined charm and go-getter energy of his literary counterpart. Portrayed by Cosmo Jarvis, Wentworth is shy, brooding and vague; a Darcy cyborg without the specificity. It gives a good look, but no evidence of anything behind it.

The film picks up briefly when Henry Golding arrives to play Mr. Elliot, Anne’s cousin and Wentworth’s rival for her heart. Golding is in pure mustache-twirling villain mode (though inexplicably Cracknell omitted the plot in which Mr. Elliot is actually revealed to be a villain). His presence adds a welcome burst of energy to the proceedings.

The energy is largely missing here, a fact the film seems to completely ignore. Persuasion continues under the apparent assumption that all of its fashionable anachronisms will bring old Austen to life. Where Austen wrote, with his keen sense of irony and social paradox: “Now they were like strangers; even, worse than strangers, because they could never get to know each other. It was a perpetual separation,” Cracknell renders the painfully awkward line, “Now we’re strangers. No, worse than strangers. We are exes. Then the camera moves back to let you contemplate the result, as if this film had done you a favor. Persuasion meaning in the 21st century, in the same way as clueless made Emma takes on its full meaning in the 20th century.

But the thing is that Austen Persuasion already makes sense in the 21st century. (So, by the way, does Emmaof which one fact clueless was fully aware.) Of course, the social codes that caused Anne Elliot to conceal her own grief have changed. But the emotions at the heart of the novel – loneliness, longing, despair – breathe powerfully in the present.

Adaptation Emma in clueless worked because its transposition of Regency mores into a 90s SoCal high school was playful and witty. clueless did not explain Emma to an audience too stupid to understand. He had fun with his audience.

PersuasionThe attempt to transpose modern mores into Regency England seems simply clumsy and condescending. It seems like the movie thinks you’re too stupid to figure out Jane Austen on your own, so instead of trying to bring her work to life, it’s decided to give you a bit of a summary.

In an indelible Austen moment Persuasion, Wentworth tells Anne, “I am half agony, half hope.” by Netflix Persuasion is all agony.

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beautiful home decor Williams vs Radokano match postponed Brian Kelly, LSU player Myles Brennan, retires from football Black Adam and Stripe are seemingly heading to MultiVersus Bryce Dallas Howard claims she received payment.