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Royal Navy captain Wentworth was haughtily turned down eight years ago as suitor of pompous baronet Sir Walter Elliot's daughter Anne, despite true love. Now he visits their former seaside country estate, rented by his brother-in-law, admiral Croft, so the financially stressed baronet can afford a fashionable, cheaper residence in trendy Bath. First the former lovers meet again on the estate, where they feel vibes again, but neither dares admit them until it seems too late. Yet the truth becomes clear, both have moved, but meet again in Bath. Written by
When Anne is running through the streets of Bath, right before she bumps into Charles and Captain Wentworth, a hydro pole and a radio tower can be seen in the background. See more »
[Anne has been upset and flustered as she hurries through Kellynch Hall, marking an inventory of items throughout the mansion. She spies Lady Russell's carriage approaching and goes outside to meet her. They talk while returning inside]
My dear Russell!
My dear Anne. You look quite done for. I came back as soon as I received your letter. I had no idea the position was so worse.
Unfortunately, a person who has contracted debts must pay them, even if he is a gentleman.
Was there no ...
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This lovely production has a brooding quality that mirrors the circumstances of the author. Unlike the rest of Austen's heroines, Anne Elliot, in a delicate anxiety-ridden performance by Sally Hawkins, isn't twice as clever as everyone else. She's been "persuaded" to make the wrong choices over and over. Her own character we see emerge in the course of the story, and her defiance of convention, class and family brings us a very "modern" heroine.
Unlike the more sour comments here, I thought the production values exquisite, the cinematography mirrors both the romance Ms. Austen is noted for, but also a melancholy that is at the heart of all of her work. Beautiful scenes, for example, shot on a sea wall with a monochromatic palette very near the color of cold steel, we feel acutely the dilemma of the heroine forced to be in situation after situation where she has to face her past in the presence of her beloved. The beautiful visuals are matched, if not surpassed, by a delicate and evocative musical score.
Anne's redemption comes slowly, perhaps too slowly for the more impatient in the audience. And Rupert Perry-Jones' Captain Rupert all but stops the camera with his impressive portrayal of Captain Wentworth. More empathic than Ms. Austen's usual love interests, Mr. Perry-Jones also stops the hearts of the viewers with his agony, visible to us, but not Anne Elliot.
It would be difficult to pick a favorite out of Masterpiece Theater's "The Complete Jane Austen," but for me, this one might be it. It's economy, lovely cinematography, efficient screenplay, and splendid cast (save Amanda Hale who stops the show every time she appears on screen in a distracting, mannered performance that a director should not have accepted) especially the gentle beauty of Alice Krige as Lady Russell. "Persuasion" is free of the more clever elements that teeter many of Ms. Austen's works, and this production makes the most of a love story whose heroine earns her redemption with courage that is not facile or glib.
To those who think "the book was better," of course. So glad you have your attitude. Pity you can't let go of it and enjoy this fine little production.
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