Persuasion (2007 TV Movie)
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Sally Hawkins was so tremulous and timid as Anne, with the exception of the above-mentioned collarbone scene, I couldn't see why other people relied on her so much and what exactly inspired such confidence in her abilities (other than apparently she was a fledgling doctor and seemed to have spent the eight years since her broken engagement studying medicine). Rupert Penry-Jones wasn't bad as Wentworth, but I felt he was given far too little to do, so that he wasn't very memorable at all. He also didn't seem much like a Navy man, more of a Beau Brummel type.
The supporting cast was either sadly neglected or terrible. Anthony Head was good as Sir Walter Elliot, and Tobias Menzies very charismatic as Mr Elliot, but both very wasted. The other two Elliot sisters were absolutely terrible, especially the actress playing Mary, who seemed to believe she really was in a Monty Python sketch. Lady Russell gave no indication of a strong character who would have had such persuasive power over Anne to make her give up the love of her life (even an Anne as weak and wilted as Hawkins). The Musgrove sisters were hardly there, and there was no sense in why Louisa would have held such charm for Wentworth.
I said I would try to leave the novel out of my review, but a few changes which baffled me--one being the omission of the lines about how Anne had given up dancing, especially since they have the couple waltzing at the end. That scene doesn't make as much sense without the earlier indication that Anne stopped dancing after she gave up Frederick. The other was the conversation between Anne and Capt Harville about women loving longest when all hope was gone, they moved the conversation to between Capt Bennick and Anne at a much earlier point in the film, and there's no sign Wentworth overhears them. That conversation was the whole entire spur that caused Wentworth to believe Anne still cared for him and that he should try again. There's almost no point in having in it the film if Wentworth doesn't hear it, as the audience already knows Anne's feelings and doesn't need it for confirmation. The final change was the letter scene, by having Anne try to read it as she races around Bath, it takes away the beauty and sentiment (they also cut the letter short); and the lines about how her 'sweet words' or whatever that caused him to write the letter make no sense, since he didn't overhear any vital conversation about her feelings. Wentworth's letter is one of the most beautiful passages in fiction in my opinion, and to truncate it and place it in such an awkward setting paramount to sacrilege.
I have read all 6 of Austen's novels and have read much literary criticism where her work is concerned, so like many other people who have commented on this film, I no longer compare adaptations of Austen's novels to her actual novels. Therefore I can have no quarrel with this latest film.
It has been addressed that Rupert Penry-Jones and Sally Hawkins lacked on screen chemistry, this is in a way quite true, but only because their chemistry is more understated, which is, in my opinion more in keeping to the period in which Jane Austen was writing. I do not agree with the many comments insulting the acting of almost all of the cast. In my opinion, the ITV has come up trumps with this cast and each actor and actress portrayed their character in a way which suited the overall character of the film.
Unfortunately I do have to agree with many comments on the camera work of this production which was certainly below par, however this is my only complaint.
So, overall the film was most enjoyable, the story itself being told in such a way that I almost cried at the end! I am sure that this adaptation has helped only to uphold the respect for Austen's Persuasion and her other great novels. For that any true Austen-fan can be grateful.
I saw the 2007 version and watched it over and over again. I love it! The more I see it, the more I see things in the movie that I missed the first time I watched it. I think it's witty and humorous. I'm a Jane Austen addict and I'm happy that there are versions out there to explore other possibilities. No movies can ever do a book justice or be exactly like the book. Something in a book would always be trimmed and adapted for a movie. Most people read Austen's novels and interpret the characters differently. I think this is why she was such a genius at creating her characters. They are multi-dimensional and no one is all good or all bad, and they're really human. If the movie makers are really true to the book in telling the story, then the movie is in danger of being stale and boring. We would not have the descriptive passages from the books and we would end up with just dialogs.
Of course in Jane Austen's time, it was improper for a girl to run around chasing after a man or even kissing him in public. I laughed when Sally Hawkins (Anne Elliot) fell and when she was running around Bath looking for Rupert Penry-Jones (Captain Wentworth). The entertainment value is there. Rupert Penry-Jones' Captain Wentworth is aloof and being a naval captain, he doesn't display his emotions easily. You'll need to look at his eyes to see that he's jealous or to see his joy of seeing Anne and trying to conceal it. He is cold because deep down he is resentful of being turned down by Anne. He didn't have the reassurance that she would ever accept him. When he asked to call on her at precisely at 11:00 a.m., he was really angry with her possibly being engaged to Mr. Elliot. It was a pretense to ask about her relationship and not about the duty to deliver a message. There was a lot of underlying tension.
Then, the scene went into everyone all of a sudden showing up not understanding Anne was desperately trying to talk to Wentworth in private. They became emotional and physical obstacles to Anne reaching out to her man. I think the scene was well done and her frustration was communicated to the audience. The tempo was superb. At last, she caught up with the captain but then her brother-in-law was talking too much and one would wish he would get the message and leave them be. Finally, when Rupert Penry-Jones took off his hat, he almost took my breath away. I can understand now why Anne would wish to sail away with this man and why she spent over 8 years pining for him. So, maybe there is some merit to the captain being youthful. The book does describe him as being handsome and it is a major point of why Sir Walter began to accept him. And really, I don't see why Penry-Jones' performance was necessarily colder than the others. I thought they all are and this was how Jane Austen usually described her heroes. They tend to be men of a few words. I wouldn't like it if the heroes are giddy and over acting. I think both Sally Hawkins and Amanda Root portrayed Anne well. They're different but both gave a good performance.
My only complaint on the movie is that it is too short and everything seems to move too fast. 2 hours would have been better as to give the audience more time to connect with the characters. Still, the 2007 version has a lively tone, and it's not like Dickens' novels that deal with murder, kidnapping or other horrible things that happen to people. We couldn't make fun of them, but Jane Austen's love stories are full of characters that have plenty of room for irony or humor.
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.
I do agree that the camera work in the beginning was a little annoying; but I felt that the close-ups fit well within the story. It allowed us to really get close to the characters.
I loved Sally Hawkin's portrayal of Anne. She played Anne's emotions very well. We could tell that she was still in love with Wentworth, and that she was in agony over having to see the woman flirt with him. And Rupert Penry-Jones was a fabulous Wentworth. You could see that he was in love with Anne, but that he was trying very hard not to be.
The scene at the concert, when he ended up leaving early because he couldn't stand to see Anne with Mr. Elliot, is one of my favorite parts of the movie. He was so heartbroken because he was afraid he was too late; and he was jealous that Mr. Elliot was spending so much time with her, when he was the one who wanted to be in his place.
All in all, I thought it was a charming adaptation, and I recommend it to all who are fans of Jane Austen's novels.
A clever script manages, with all the cuts and changes which are invariably part of all adaptations, to distill the spirit of Jane Austen's novel unerringly. Wonderful leads (Rupert Penry-Jones is a warm-hearted, dashing Wentworth and Sally Hawkins is a delightfully sweet tempered Anne Elliot) and an outstanding supporting cast breathe life and immediacy into the plot. Creative film making ideas give the production a fresh face and make for memorable, visually gorgeous film moments. The pacing is swift but never hurried. And last but not least, I loved the musical score!
Watching this sent me walking on cloud 9 for days. I have watched it several times since and am still discovering new marvels because there are many levels to explore in this gem. Don't miss it!
To respond to the previous comment, I agree that the hand-held camera at the beginning was dizzying.
I thoroughly enjoyed the numerous close-ups on both Sally Hawkins' and Rupert Penry-Jones' faces. Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth are characters with rich inner lives. I felt that those feelings/thoughts were amply conveyed in their faces.
As far as being a consummate Jane Austen leading man, I think that Rupert Penry-Jones' Captain Wentworth should be thought to rival the Fitzwilliam Darcy of Colin Firth in 1995.
I believe that Anne's cousin, Mr. Elliot, is meant to be more charismatic than Captain Wentworth. Elliot is a chameleon, whereas Wentworth is more reserved.
I agree that the chemistry between Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds is better, but only just. Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones came across as younger, so perhaps the history they convey is a simpler one.
I prefer Corin Redgrave's playing of Sir Walter Elliot in the 1995 version. It is delightfully foppish.
I believe that 1995 is a better film, but I prefer 2007 for the depth of performance I get from the two main characters, Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot and Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Frederick Wentworth.
Being 15, i was not really much of a Jane Austen fan when the original version came out-and i am currently waiting for the Jane Austen complete works to arrive, so that i can read the original book.
I have to agree, the end scene was a little ridiculous, but i was on the edge of my seat nonetheless, not knowing the fate of Frederick and Anne. Although i really should have, after reading pride and prejudice and sensibility and the other adaptations it is pretty predictable but still a wonderful story and film. I do not think it has been given enough advertising, and effective marketing, but i like it that way ,it makes it more special to me, and the others that watch it and fall in love with the characters.
If you want to see an impeccable version of this (otherwise) wonderful novel, get the 1995 Roger Michell directed version starring Amanda Root (whose expressions alone can speak volumes) and Ciaran Hinds. It is superb.
First of all, where are the characters that you sympathise with and like? You have to have at least one likable character to get the audience to invest their emotions in them, and this did not deliver. Sure, I wanted Anne and Wentworth to get together, but only because that's what you know the purpose of the story is, them getting together. Instead, I had to resist urges to throw my teacup at the TV and to continue watching it to the end.
Anne was utterly annoying throughout, and in the end, I really have no idea why Wentworth was so smitten by her, as there seemed to be nothing there for him to be attracted to. She was meek, bland, dull, socially inadequate and came across like a sheep following everyone else's instructions rather than having a mind of her own. This can still work for a lead character, if you do it well. This wasn't done well.
The other characters were just displaying various degrees of narcissism, of which Mary was the worst, with a full-blown narcissistic personality disorder. Where Mrs. Bennet in P&P had similar flaws, she was still endearing, whereas Mary was more of a freak-show. More loathsome than funny.
Wentworth was very handsome and seemed like a decent kind of guy. For the most part of the story, I was just wondering what kind of person he was and why he's in love with Anne, as surely, he's the kind of guy who would want a person who is a little bit more... alive? Acting-wise, not too much to say, as I reacted more to the characters being portrayed rather than how good/bad the people acting were. Anthony Head was excellent, but as soon as I saw he was in it, I expected no less.
Also found the story very confusing. It wasn't until the end of the movie where it seemed as if Elizabeth was not Anne's stepmother, but in fact a sister (I'm still not 100% on that). The whole Anne/Wentworth back story was also a bit fuzzy. They had been together but then broke up and they're both bitter about it? How come? I was wondering this for quite some time, and the explanation seemed to be she dumped him because she was persuaded to do so by someone? But it was said in a kind of "by the by" way that it was almost missed, as if it was somehow unimportant. How can it be unimportant when it's the very core of the story?? There was also a lot of name-dropping, but no real feel for who the characters were. This Louisa person for instance, who was she? A friend? Family? What? It wasn't made very clear who the different characters are and their relationship with one another. Lady Russell was there a lot, but why? Mrs. Croft and Wentworth were brother and sister, which felt very unrealistic as Mrs. Croft looked old enough to be his mother.
The final kiss, yes it was a bit strange them kissing in the street, but I didn't really think about it, because I was too busy yelling "GET ON WITH IT ALREADY!!" at the TV, because Anne's lips trembled and trembled and trembled for what felt like ages before they actually met Wentworth's. Have SOME hesitation there, but only for a couple of seconds or so, not half a minute.
Then there's the issue of camera work. As a regular movie watcher, you don't pay attention to angles and such unless you decide to look out for it. I didn't decide to do so here, but I still noticed them. To me, that means the filmmakers are not doing a good job. A lot of conversations were with extreme facial closeups, something that should only be used when there's a really important point to be made. In this adaption, it was over-used and therefore lacked meaning. The hand-held feeling on occasion also didn't really work in a period drama. The camera work in the running scene in the end also felt too contemporary. (Not to mention the running itself.) This was the only Austen adaption I caught in ITV's Austen season. Makes me wonder if it's worth watching "Northanger Abbey" and "Mansfield Park" or if I should just read the books and leave it at that. I'm sad to say, this is a Jane Austen adaption I did not enjoy. Maybe I'll watch the 1995 version instead. The BBC are renowned for having done beautiful Austen adaptations before, after all.
She looked like a fish. A gasping, dying fish. Yeah, I get that she ran all over town (still not sure why they played it that way) but come ON! That had to be the worst on screen kiss in the history of kisses. The only reason I didn't give this movie a single star is because of the guy who played Frederick. He was easy on the eyes and not a horrible actor. But even he wasn't enough to get me to ever watch this travesty again. I'm a romantic and I've seen my share of climax of the story kisses and this . . . this deserves to be buried and forgotten.
And that constant creepy stare at the camera didn't help anything either.
I totally agree with almost all the negative observations made by previous contributors and cannot understand why anybody who liked this adaptation would prefer it to the 1995 one, where, imho, there was 100% more chemistry between the main protagonists, the acting was better, the pace much more appropriate and the polish to the production far more in evidence than in this effort. I got the distinct feeling this production was done in a hurry, as superficially the other Jane Austen titles, which were presented at the same time, have a bit more fizz and pizazz.
The thing which particularly annoyed me this time around, however, was not the ludicrous 'Bath Marathon', the caricatures into which the less sympathetic characters had been turned, or the mucking around with the text, all of which irritated me greatly in past viewings. No, this time what had me leaping around like a cockroach on a hot rock was Sally Hawkins - does that woman EVER close her mouth? Having been victimised extensively for even tiny instances of mouth-breathing as a child, it amazed me that somebody who's presumably gone through the whole gamut of professional training vis a vis breathing technique etc, hasn't been tortured out of the habit: but this would appear not to be the case. I shall now have a mission to see other examples of Ms Hawkin's work to ascertain whether this is something she does as a general rule, or whether it was just developed especially for this production in the mistaken belief that continual fly-catching somehow gives an insight into Anne's character.
Oh, and whoever imagined that Mr Elliott's slight squint somehow added to his attractiveness needs to be taken out and flogged as well. In conjuring up the overall impression of shiftiness, fair enough, but as this character is portrayed in the text as being physically attractive AND manages to pass Sir Walter's scrutiny, I would suggest squinting is deeply inappropriate.
Overall, I would recommend this version only if you want an example of how Austen should NOT be done. Anybody wanting some quality entertainment should go back to the 1995 version which I believe to be superb.
I had never heard of either of the leads so I had no expectations, and found them to be effective within the confines of a sketchy and shallow script, and the decision by PBS executives to cut the overly short film even more.
I didn't appreciate the filmmakers turning Anne Elliot into a weepy, stammering fool but Hawkins is a very talented actress and she did a good job of expressing Anne's emotions and her strength of will, and also how Anne accepted her existence as a drudge as her deserved fate. Unlike some other viewers I think she's a pretty woman, and would have been more so except for that headache-inducing hairdo.
A lot of people are complaining about Wentworth, but Penry-Jones showed me an angry, proud, wounded man. He was mad at Anne *and* at himself, and alternated between trying to ignore her (hence the attention to Louisa the Hoyden), watching her yearningly when she was unaware of his attention and retreating into his shell when she was, and then being relaxed, easygoing and warm with others.
Wentworth couldn't trust Anne or himself and kept everything shoved down so far he was choking. P-J's portrayal was mainly in his eyes, especially his burning gaze, and the tightening of his jaw, or twitch of the lips, or averted gaze. In P-J's portrayal Wentworth seemed to be a man who could not say what he felt and therefore forced himself to say next to nothing, but who couldn't stop his feelings for Anne from reviving. At times, such as when he watched Anne play Beethoven, his eyes seemed to devour her, and then when watching her got too painful he left the room.
-- too little character exposition and too little demonstration of how intertwined the characters are.
-- the characters are introduced and then disappear before they can make an impression.
-- butchering Wentworth's letter. WT ...? As played, though, it was clear that Wentworth watched Anne and Benwick and was so pleased with her kindness to Benwick, specifically, and with the company, generally, that he relaxed and then was rattled when he toasted the Navy and saw Anne across from him.
-- I'm sure the filmmakers thought having Anne run around Bath and then INTO Wentworth would convey her desperation to not lose him again -- you know, for once she ignores duty and propriety, blah, blah, blah ... if Austen had wanted Anne to do that she'd have written it.
-- the Crofts tell Anne about Louisa's engagement without actually giving her the facts, as they would if they were actually imparting news, and Anne stands there gulping and gasping in the most cruelly exposed way while they watch her, with what seemed to be an ulterior motive.
-- I didn't buy the portrayal of Sir Walter -- he's a vain snobbish nonentity, not an enraged bully.
-- Anne parades around - unselfconsciously! - in an unfastened dressing gown and her underclothes. I don't care if every one was some kind of relative - it would never happen.
-- Mrs. Smith chasing Anne down the street ... laugh or cry? I can't decide.
I can seriously not think of anything negative to say about this production. I find it a lot less dreary than the 1995 version. This one kept me interested all the time and I could not wait for the next shot of Anne and Wentworth together.
Further more I think the camera work is great. I love the shots and the close ups of Anne with the beautiful piano music playing in the back. And I also loved the last scene, which I find very beautiful. A lovely climax. My only regret is that I can compare neither of these two versions with the book, for I have not yet read it.
When asked, I will definitely say that I like the 2007 version much better than the one from 1995.