Persuasion (TV Movie 2007) Poster

(2007 TV Movie)

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Compels you slowly; before you realize it, you're caught up
Amy Smith18 June 2008
This current adaptation of Austen's mature novel is very endearing. Rupert Penry-Jones'adept utilization of facial expressions reveal a man who is deeply wounded and angry with good reason, yet subconsciously conflicted. His Captain Wentworth doesn't know if, and how he should proceed. He deftly portrays a spurned lover that is compelled to look back in spite of himself. Sally Hawkins expertly portrays a gentle introvert who hides a long held affection in some compartment of herself. She functions well enough in life, but she does not ,and cannot flourish, and wonders if she ever will embrace abundant happiness......The staging is accurate and the costumes lovely. Kudos to Anthony Head; he flawlessly captures Sir Walter Elliot, the most conceited, clueless genteel idiot who was ever most ingeniously conceived in the mind of a true observer of human nature and character-Jane Austen. We, the viewing public, are both sobered and amused.....
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I wanted to like this
Unwanted_Birdtamer14 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Persuasion is my favorite novel ever, and I was very much looking forward to a new adaptation of it. Trying to put aside the novel and focus on the film on it's own merits, I thought it was a fairly mediocre production that was far too rushed. The film moved along at such a speed, that it was hard for me to feel like I really cared about the characters. As has been said many times, the last ten minutes of the film were just terrible, with it suddenly becoming a Monty Python episode with almost the entire supporting cast dropping by at Anne's or stopping her in her mad marathon around Bath. I'm not usually one for nitpicking historical details or etiquette breaches, but I thought the scene where Anne resets her nephew's collarbone and carries on a lengthy conversation with her brother-in-law, her sister and her brother-in-law's father, dressed in nothing but her shift and corset, and showing no embarrassment at all, rather far-fetched.

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.
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A very enjoyable adaptation.
Alex Thomas22 April 2007
Having read some of the earlier comments I felt I had to jump to the defence of this highly enjoyable production of Persuasion. Having seen the 1995 BBC adaptation I cannot deny that this adaptation was done in a somewhat different style, however that does not take away from the pleasure gained by watching this ITV production.

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.
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Sombre in tone
Adrian Shergold's adaptation of Persuasion was the last in the ITV Jane Austen Season, and it ended on a high note. Very different style from the previous two, and is rather sombre in tone, as befits the story and characters in the novel. There is a voice over so as to enable the audience to get closer to the character of Anne Elliot played very well by Sally Hawkins. Rupert Penry-Jones is very good as Captain Wentworth, whose interaction with Anne is concise and to the point. They are not strangers, but they are estranged. Adrian Shergold employs a lot of hand held camera, and uses a lot of close ups in order for the audience to recognise the relationships between characters and their feelings. Quite often Sally Hawkins looks at the camera, and I felt this worked very well. My only slight annoyance with this adaptation was the director's unwillingness to have two people who are talking in the shot at the same time. Preferring to move from a close up of one to a close up of the other (shot reverse shot as it were) continuously. This works well occasionally, but when it is as often as it is in this adaption you become very aware of the camera and its movements, which detracts from the story and the conversation itself. This is my only slight problem with this adaptation. The supporting cast was brilliant, with Amanda Hale brilliantly playing Anne moronic younger sister. Alice Krige was great as Lady Russell, and Anthony Head as Sir Walter Elliot. This is to mention only a few. To say that ITV's Austen Season did not start well would be an understatement. However, with last weeks brilliant Northanger Abbey and this weeks Persuasion they have finished on a high. Each had its own tone and style, and forgetting Mansfield Park, they worked rather well. I would recommend this film to both fans of the book and newcomers to Austen's work. I have deliberately refrained from comparisons between this and the 1995 version, both are very good and this one has some very inventive camera work.
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a lively adaptation
broadneck18 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I watched the 1995 version of BBC's Persuasion and I liked it a lot. However, I decided that Persuasion was my least favorite of Jane Austen's six novels. This was not because the movie wasn't well done, but if we're talking about a romance that lasts almost a decade, I would like my hero and heroine to truly connect in terms of their looks and intelligence. A romance should possess some youthful quality despite of the age. It doesn't matter how old people are, it's really about the girl wants the boy and the boy gets the girl. I think the 1995 version's romance between Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot was more cautious.

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.
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One of my favorite Jane Austen stories!
chkltlife27 February 2008
I rather enjoyed this adaption of the novel. I viewed it prior to reading any comments posted. I was very caught up in Anne's feelings, her family use of her as a nursemaid, organizer and overall sport. I liked the segments in which she made eye contact with the viewer on significant points in the story; particularly the expressions of her concealed angst over Capt. Wentworth's inability to forgive her, her emotions when she thinks he is engaged, etc. I also enjoyed the distance they kept, while often making eye contact and sharing many unspoken moments. The diary, the journaling... I love it. I have not read the novel, but will curl up with it on this weekend!
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Michael Fargo10 June 2008
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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Very beautiful adaptation
apple13-121 April 2007
I was very impatient to see this adaptation because I had seen adaptations of Jane Austen's Persuasion from 1971 and 1995. I had read this novel and I can say that it belongs to my favourite. I love this adaptation. It made me cry. I very enjoyed Sally Hawkins's and also Rupert Penry Jones 's performance. They fabulous showed us their suffering, hope for their happiness and their love to each other. Yes,there were some differences between the book and the film but it doesn't matter. The camera was very unusual but from my point of view was very good used especially in the final scene when Anne was reading the letter from Captain Wentworth. I especially love the part, when Anne had wounded leg and Captain Wentworth helped her to the carriage. This is the best adaptation of Persuasion I 've ever seen.
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I thought it was a charming adaptation
Crissy Richardson14 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I've been a fan of Jane Austen's novels for 3 years; and "Persuasion" is my favorite. I never saw the older adaptation of "Persuasion", so I can't comment on how different the two are. I will leave that to those who seen both of them.

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.
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Incandescently Charming Adaptation Will Set Your Heart Aglow
coiragrigione27 October 2007
I was swept up by this brilliant adaptation from second one, when a young woman looked straight at me with melancholic eyes in an extreme close up. I was engaged, I was on her side and watched, utterly spellbound, as her story unravelled.

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!
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2007 verses 1995 version
stormygail5024 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
let me start out by saying this is my favorite version and that every time i see it i find something new and revealing. I thought the choice of Anthony Head as Sir Walter was more in keeping with the era. Alice Krige's portrayal of Lady Russell was a little stronger than Susan Fleetwood's in the 1995 version, yet i prefer Ms. Fleetwood's portrayal.Amanda Hale's portrayal of Mary Musgrove was more in keeping of a "simple-minded" person than the spoiled and attention seeking portrayal of Sophie Thompson in the 1995 version, which was far better.Also it is more believable that Sir Walter would be attracted to the portrayal of Mrs. Clay by Mary Stockley than the 1995 version. Sam Hazeldine's portrayal of Charles Musgrove was a much more believable one of a country gentleman. His concern and gentleness for Anne makes it believable that he would have been interested or in love with Anne before Mary. Sam Hazeldine was an attractive choice, one I am pleased with. I approve of the choice of James Mawle (Harville) and Finlay Robertson (Benwick) as friends of Captain Wentworth. The friendship between the 3 is believable. From the first moment you meet them at the beach, you can feel their abiding friendship as Wentworth embraces them and at his joy of seeing them. You see the depth of their friendship as Wentworth introduces them to the Musgroves and Miss Elliot and Harville says, "Miss Anne Elliot?'".You realize Wentworth has discussed his love of Anne with Harville. Tobias Menzies as a choice to play William Elliot was a wise choice, he has a strong presence to off-set Rupert Penry-Jones' Captain Wentworth. This character had to have a strong presence in order to have Anne notice him and to cause a doubt within Captain Wentworth in regards to Anne's possible union with William Elliot. I also felt the camera work was not the best, at least they tried something different. Rupert Penry-Jones' portrayal of Captain Wentworth was a more touching one. You could see his anger and resentment with Anne, yet he tried to deny his love for Anne to himself. The chemistry between Rupert Penry-Jones and Sally Hawkins grows as they draw closer to each other after a 8 year separation. The "played-down" love scenes were indicative of that era. Displays of affection- such as in the last scene when Anne and Wentworth embrace, laugh, dance and kiss with an ease of lovers--were only for married or engaged couples. Till this ending, we are drawn by the frustration of first Anne than Captain Wentworth, as they struggle-in polite society-to show each other that they still love one another. The running through the streets of Bath are a little hard to take but my objection is that as Anne runs into Captain Wentworth and Charles, that he does not reach out to steady her and the touching scene where one tear escapes Anne's eye, goes unnoticed by Captain Wentworth, he does not brush it from her cheek, or caress her cheek as he draws her to him and kiss her. The tear is an important scene, it represents Anne's determination to marry him, to not to turn from her promise this time. Another disappointment was as Benwick and Anne are discussing the Constancy of men vs women, that Captain Wentworth does not overhear Anne as she tells Benwick that as for her sex, "love lasts longer even when all hope is lost", for this was the change of attitude with Anne. Love and hope from anger and resentment, but the director seemed to choose the scene at Lyme when Louisa had her fall, as the turning point, when Anne takes control and their hands are pressed against the other's while they cover Louisa's head wound. He looks at Anne with a new found respect. I agree that Rupert Penry-Jones is a handsome man and would have turned my head,too-but it is his portrayal of Captain Wentworth's anger and resentment with Anne's desertion of 8 years past, also his love, which he fights hard not to acknowledge, of his pain through his unguardedness with Louisa. may have given Anne the misconception of an understanding existing between Louisa and himself-you see the pain, the fear at the knowledge of his anger and indifference costing him Anne. I am so glad they picked Rupert Penry-Jones to play Captain Wentworth, I do like Ciaran Hinds work, but Rupert Penry-Jones' portrayal touched my heart and soul. Sorry but a quiet, strong love, a deeply felt love, a gentleness of a lover as played him is more to my liking! Watch the movie, but watch just to enjoy, not to criticize . EXCELLENT job, Rupert. Thankyou.
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a travesty of Austen
alissende3 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not usually one to slate a film . I try to see the good points and not focus on the bad ones, but in this case, there are almost no good points. In my opinion, if you're going to make something that bad, why bother? Part of the film is take up with shots of Anne's face while she breaths deeply, and violin music plays in the background. the other part is filled with poor and wooden acting. Rupert Penry Jones is expressionless. Jennifer Higham plays Anne's younger sister with modern mannerisms. Anne is portrayed as being meek and self effacing, which is fine at the beginning, but she stays the same all through the film, and you see no reason for captain Wentworth to fall in love with her. Overall the production lacks any sense of period, with too many mistakes to be overlooked, such as running out of the concert, kissing in the street, running about in the streets with no hat on (why was this scene in the film at all? the scene in the book was one of the most romantic scenes written.). To sum it up, a terrible film, very disappointing.
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Performance of Chief Characters Brilliant
annacmoorman1 September 2008
I prefer this version of Persuasion to the 1995 Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds one.

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.
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Very agreeable
debra mit4 April 2007
I have to say-i loved this film.

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.
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Quite a good adaptation
amandaregina200918 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I must have been out of the country during the whole hype about this new version because I was totally surprised when it came on! After reading through the comments that others have left, I really do feel that I must defend this new version. Unlike most of the other commentators, I did not find the 1995 version to be in anyways better than this one. 'Persuasion' is by far my favourite novel by Jane Austen and had high hopes for the '95 version. I first watched it with several of my friends (all of whom had never read the book before) and by the end half were asleep and the others bored out of their minds. I enjoyed it only because I was an avid fan of the book and it was a decently close adaptation (with the exception of changing Charles Hayters' name, which still confuses me!)I watched this new version with my 16 year old sister (who has not read the book either) and we were both throughly entertained throughout. As others have said, it is pointless to try and compare the novel to any movie version that may ever be made. Changes have to be made in order to make the story work as a movie. Keeping this in mind, I found the 2007 adaptation a far more accessible one than the 1995 BBC version, which, in trying to include every plot line and character came across very long and confusing to those that were'nt already familiar with the story. As a fan, I will always be disappointed to see characters and sub-plots dropped, but if it benefits the overall flow of the movie, then I suppose it must be tolerated. I will agree that the camera work was rather interesting, but it didn't bother me nearly as much as others have expressed (I suppose I put more attention on the costumes anyways!) On the whole, though, I found this movie very engaging and visually pleasing (I really wish I could have been in Bath when they were filming!) Despite the changes, the interesting portrayal of side characters and the random 'Run Lola Run' scene, for me this movie captured the spirit of the novel as a whole that I had not felt in the early adaptation. I feel that if this fresher version is more accessible to those not previously acquainted with Jane Austen's work, then it has well served its purpose.
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Spinster wishes for second chance with one-time spurned suitor.
rochon6114 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
My God, was this the "Run, Lola, Run" adaptation of Persuasion? It was horrible. Bad enough that the "screenwriter" (and I use the term very loosely) cut and pasted dialogue from one character onto another, often completely out of context and to rush the story along: but Anne Elliott running from location to location in pursuit of Wentworth near the end of the piece was an abomination! Austen must be spinning in her grave. No respectable young woman would have acted in such an atrocious fashion. And the actress that played Mary? Horrors. Needless to say, if the rest of the Austen remakes are this bad, they will be turning off a new generation of watchers.

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.
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I dreaded this but I was pleasantly surprised.
classicmania1 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I was a huge fan of the Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds version so I tuned in to this with some trepidation...I sat in my chair with arms crossed ready to pick it to pieces...but to my utter astonishment it reeled me in from the very short it was wonderful...and has now,for me,overtaken the previous version in my affections.The acting was superb...apart from a few dodgy moments from two actors,the actor who played Anne's brother in law and the actress who played her hypochondriac sister..who seemed to waddle like a duck instead of walking.The two leads were superb.I expected nothing less from Rupert Penry Jones (Angela Thorne's son by the way,and husband of Dervla Kirwan)Sally Hawkins,I'd never seen before but she was wonderful...the kiss at the end was lovely...the costumes were wonderful the scenery breathtaking....OH dear I think I've got the vapours...
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Persuading me to read the book instead
Warning: Spoilers
I love Jane Austen's stories. I've only read two of them (P&P and S&S), but after having seen this adaption, I'm reaching for "Persuasion" from my bookcase just to make sense out of the story, and also, because I refusing to believe Jane Austen could have written such nonsense. For me, I thought that if you base a film on a Jane Austen novel, you can't really go wrong. It will turn out great pretty much by default. I was wrong.

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.
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Not much more to say
pauhaa15 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Most has been said already that needs to be said about this film. It's really hard to understand the need to rewrite scenes, invent conversations and omit others, move plot elements around and abandon Jane Austen's methods of building tension for something else. This film is not shorter than the 1995 adaptation, nor is Persuasion a very extensive novel. It's not a question of truncating but of completely nonsensical rewriting. If you never read Persuasion you would know nothing of Anne Elliot's character or her relationship with her family, with Lady Russell, with the Crawfords, with the Musgroves, with Mr Elliot or Mrs Smith, after watching this. The fluctuations of hope and bitterness in the minds of the main characters are now smoothed down to an anachronistic and unconvincing linearity: Captain W sorting things out in conversations with his best buddy and Anne hearing the truth about Louisa's engagement and then only waiting for the right moment (and finally running!) while people bump into her. This retains none of Austen's philosophy about character and manners and how people develop and find a balance of ideals and values. I've seen adaptations that do. The question of honor and commitment is an important one in Austen, but when Wenthworth is talking to his friend and reasoning that he apparently now must marry Louisa Musgrove, he really sounds like a time traveler trying to understand the strange ways of the period. I watched this through out of curiosity and it really is enlightening to see just how good the original story is: where you change it, you instantly go wrong. Loosen up, Anne Elliot, you hear them say, forget propriety, forget you are a Jane Austen character... er... ?
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Fish face
Lily-3212 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I think it very telling that so many people, without having discussed it first, had the same reaction to the long awaited "kiss" at the end of the film.

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.
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Perfectly ghastly, watch the 1995 Amanda Root/Cieran Hinds instead
zelda-517 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I thought I'd give this adaptation another chance, having thrown it in a cupboard some time ago... now I wish I'd just sent it to the charity shop then, rather than storing it.

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.
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Emotion and romance brought alive on screen
burlingo25 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The first time I saw this movie, I only caught the last 5-10 minutes, which I found so exciting that I couldn't wait to see the whole thing! I've seen it all the way through a few times now and find the artistry of the film amazing. It may not follow the book exactly, but it conveys the spirit of this romance faithfully in other ways. The film opens with us following the lead character, Ann Elliot (Sally Hawkins), the spinster daughter of a nobleman, as she rushes around her family's ancestral home being the dutiful daughter she's always been. This scene contrasts beautifully with the climactic scene where we follow her as she rushes around Bath finally forgoing family duty in search of her true love, Captain Frederick Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones). The direction and camera work, especially the close ups, help convey Ann's pain and loneliness and the estrangement of the two former lovers. Eventually, in subtle ways, Ann starts putting her needs ahead of those of her vain family. Even when she thinks she has lost Frederick to another woman, she stands up to her father when he bullies her and insults her friend, a poor widow. It's fun to watch this heroine as her courage grows. You start to root for her more and more! When glimmers of hope emerge for a reconciliation between Ann and Frederick, there's a subtly romantic scene where we see them in the same camera view, their faces only inches apart. You can tell that the intimacy they once shared isn't lost; it's only being masked by her guilt and his bruised ego. The music is just as effective at subtly illustrating all the emotions in the film. Even something as simple as the youthful energy and joy of two sisters running across a field is beautifully enhanced by the soundtrack. We can see Ann following behind them slowly, hypochondriac sister in tow, magnifying Ann's pitiful lot in life. I'm impressed with all aspects of this version of this Classic. The acting of Ann (Sally) and Frederick (Rupert) is excellent, and the other actors are great foils for their seemingly doomed relationship. It builds to a wonderful finish just as Miss Austen would've wanted. I recommend this movie to anyone interested in seeing the emotions of the story depicted smartly and effectively on screen. My only criticism is that I would've liked a slightly longer movie. Director's cut, please!
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could have been so much better
hortkt27 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
My first principle with an Austen adaptation is that the longer I spend in her world the better -- e.g., 5 hours of P&P is better than 2, and 2 hours is the minimum to do the characters justice. Someone who commented over at worked on the film and said they filmed many more scenes than were included in the final product. I wish we had been given those too.

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.

Some complaints:

-- 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.
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I had high expectations for this film and was not disappointed!
Cherry-Blossom14 April 2007
I must say that I absolutely love this film. Unfortunately I have to disagree with most of the critics by saying that here was so much chemistry between Anne and Wentworth (in my opinion anyway). I like this version a lot better than the one from 1995. Anne appeared lovely and gentle and I thought that Captain Wentworth was not only acting wonderfully, but he is also very handsome (in contradiction with the actor in the BBC film). I think he depicted a man truly in love, but struggling with his mixed feelings towards the object of his affection.

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.
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Did they even read the book?
clkytta9 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I am a huge Jane Austen fan and I ordered the movie from Amazon.UK just so I could see it without waiting forever for it to come to the U.S. I really should have saved my money. What is with Anne running after Wentworth? The whole point of Anne Elliot's character is that she was quiet and refined. She is not impulsive and vulgar. And Mary, was she suffering from a stroke or something? Her speech wasn't normal, nor was her walking normal. There was no chemistry between the two main characters which made their whole "romance" completely unbelievable. In the final scene they even have Sally Hawkins wearing the same dress Amanda Root wore during the letter scene. The same clothes do not make it the same movie. In my opinion they didn't watch the 1995 version, which even though it had it's flaws, it did stay pretty close to the book. The book, I don't even think they read it. This is kind of like a Cliff's Notes movie of Persuasion. Hit on all the high points without explaining anything.
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