The answer of course, is yes, to all. And that shouldn't be surprising even if you've never seen or read Persuasion before. It's a romantic drama -- what else could happen? It's not the destination after all, but the journey that we love, and with Jane Austen at the helm, you know the journey is going to be a good one.
|Anne Elliot, heroine.|
Persuasion is different from most of Austen's other novels in one major way; it's not very much of a comedy. It still has her wit, and there's still those moments to laugh at, but the wit is deeper -- mellower -- and you laugh very thankful that you're not in that annoying or otherwise unpleasant situation. This movie embraces all that drama boldly. The filming style is elegant and not overdone, with deep blue undertones matching and creating the mood. Simple shots let you take in the natural beauty of locations, and creative camera work and editing in the right spots embellish the story stylishly.
Interestingly, this is one period drama where I actually appreciate the men's costumes more than the women's. Not that the women's are bad at all, they are very nice and at times wonderfully ridiculous, but the men look really good and like real gentlemen in this film, and especially Captain Wentworth, though it doesn't hurt that he's actually very handsome anyway. And also acted very well by Rupert Penry-Jones -- he's a wonderful Austen hero.
|Captain Frederick Wentworth, dashing hero.|
They definitely got him right in the adapting process. And the rest of the cast looks good and right too. Sally Hawkins' appearance as Anne is good, she's past her bloom, but not ugly, but I don't enjoy the way she acts as much-- too timid and breathy, and it's slightly annoying at times. Anne's sisters Elizabeth and Mary are both also -- and much more often -- annoying, but they are supposed to be, so that's a praise. Anthony Head as her father, Sir Walter Elliot is brilliant. He's very good at being angry, but the way he preens in the mirror is what really gets me. Mr. Elliot is wonderfully pompous, though perhaps a bit too much, I begin to wonder how Anne could stand to be around him. As for the rest of the cast I have no particular praises or criticisms.
|Anne's sisters, Mary and her husband Charles, and Elizabeth, and father Sir Walter.|
The adaptation for the most part of the film is good, and follows the book well, but then near the end, as if by requirement, everything falls apart, for what seems to be no reason other than saving time. It's pretty disappointing, especially if you like the "letter scene" from the book as much as I do, and at only an hour-and-a-half, you'd think they could spare some time to make the end match the beginning and middle. But my biggest criticism has to be that kiss -- first of all, totally inappropriate for the era, but then good grief, it takes them what seems like hours to lean in, until I feel like yelling at them to just get it over with already. By then, I'm obviously kind of out of the romantic mood of the movie.
I guess it's a good thing, then, that it waits til then end to come undone; up until then I get to enjoy everything immensely, and that's exactly what I do. So much so, that I keep going back and watching it again, so I guess I must think that the good outweighs the bad. It is, after all, only about ten minutes of disappointing, to the hour and twenty of reserved, aching romance, thoughtful, real characters, and that wonderful, insightful, classic storytelling distinctive to Jane Austen's talented hand.