Carrie Cracknell’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s last novel ‘Persuasion’ is far from being called an adaptation, unless you view it as someone unaware of the famous author’s work.
Netflix’s Persuasion is being criticized for all the right reasons, firstly, the movie does not in any way projects the artistic novel it originally claims to be based on. The protagonist is far from original and it seems a failed attempt of reinventing the novel, or portraying a rom-com, or even a love affair.
However, the reasons stand as just when one compares the novel right next to it. That is what the majority of the people have been doing afterall.
I must confess. I too was appalled by the narrative displayed here. The movie lacked essential aspects of the book. A radical difference sets this project quite distant from what it claims, “an adaptation”. And while I truly mesmerize over British classic literature, it gives me pain to see this one.
Bringing a classic literature has been a long challenge in Hollywood. Whether its Carlo Carlie’s 2013 Romeo and Juliet or Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice. These projects stemming from classic literature have garnered substantial criticism and mixed reviews, especially from the ones inspired from Victorian and Georgian literature.
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On the other hand, I see books such as of J.K Rowling and R.R Tolkien or even of F. Scott Fitzgerald receiving immense success. What is that actually making a literature inspired film watch worthy and awe inspiring? It brings a lot of answers into the mind of a lot of people.
It was all agony until I decided to view from another perspective. I observed the movie as an independent creation, free from the clutches of the promise, of connecting to a piece of literature. And what I discovered was a witty and artistic depiction of an era gone but never forgotten
Anne Elliot (Dakota Jhonson), the self-possessed second child of Sir Walter Elliot (Richard e Grant) is struggling with her materialistic and egoistic family. She is a smart lady in every way and has never been more composed. She drinks red wine, reads poetry, and enjoys her bath in which she welcomes her emotions to run free and take the advantage of her.
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Anne’s life is decent until one day her long lost love Fredrick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis) advents back into town and starts to brew up into her social life.
Around eight years ago, Anne had rejected Fredrick on the basis that he was not an established man. Anne’s mind was bluntly reinforced of the ideas rejecting Fredrick by her godmother Lady Russel (Niki Amuka-bird)
After eight long years, Fredrick returns, this time as an esteemed navy captain and Anne’s hope once again rises. He asks Anne to be friends with her which she deems worse than being exes.
“Now we’re worse than exes. We’re friends.”
Dakota Jhonson is an actress who compliments the character of Anne- Not Jane Austin’s Anne but Carrie’s. Dakota’s aura of Anne runs all over the place and people excluding her father and sisters can’t get enough of it.
Her expressions are exquisite and she blends in well. Dakota always had this innocence conquered over her face. This trait is visible is nearly all the movies of her. Maybe that is why she seemed the right choice to essay Anne. She is attractive, compelling, and at times bold, just like the heroin Carrie wanted for her movie. And that is what sets her apart.
Anne charms men with her talk, her love of poetry, and makes wise decisions in difficult situations. Her charisma makes her exclusive and doting while her only weakness seems to be Fredrick Wentworth.
The most admirable aspect of this Anne is turning to the camera and explaining the situation to the audience, something only Carrie’s Anne can pull off since she is more of a people’s person as compared to Jane’s Anne who is much introverted.
The narrative is carried smoothly between the old cities of London and Bath. It flawlessly revolves around the theme of old England and portrays a majestic setting to delve in.
The movie ‘Persuasion’ is not a rom-com movie but it does pull the viewer into its own world of British suaveness. And somewhat into the world of Carrie Cracknell.
To the ones abhorring the film because of being an incompetent adaptation of the novel, I would suggest looking from a different angle may solve it. Carry may have failed to depict an exact novel movie. But she unintentionally created something beautiful in her own independent sense.