By | July 16, 2022

It’s difficult to describe the extent of the Netflix’s Persuasion is and how bad it is in many ways.

A spoof of Netflix’s smash BridgertonPersuasion is a sloppy imitation. While it strives to create the sweet-coated Regency parody the likes of which Bridgerton has made trendy but it’s too insecurely confident of its own merits to enjoy the sass that makes Bridgerton so enjoyable. It imitates Bridgerton‘s hilarious absurdities (“A 5-in London will be 10 when you go to Bath!”) as it would like its viewers should see them as a source of entertainment rather than merely low-quality jokes that aren’t just tired.

In terms of a showcase for Dakota Johnson, it’s a disappointing experience. Johnson’s affable presence on the screen has been the defining factor of many a terrible film prior to this one, but as the lead character Anne Elliot, she does little to ease Persuasion as it sways on its emotional pendulum, from dull to boring. Instead, she glares at the camera with her finest Jim-fromthe TV show – The Office smirk as if she’s saying, “Aren’t we all in agreement that this is charming?” We’re not.

As a film adaption to Jane Austen’s Persuasion It’s a failure. The original Austen novel is truly devastating in its reticence the film is broad in its comedy and emotion, slack in its emotional expression and has a sloppy characterisation. It is a disaster for one of Austen’s most romantic scenes by slicing through the famous scene of writing letters until it loses the inner logic of the scene and, as a result all emotion.

If it is seen only as a film, Persuasion is a sloppy film. It’s boring. The romance is not there. It’s not amusing. It’s not even sad. It appears to have no need to exist, and the reason why it will eventually give up is clearly insulting to all who is involved.

Persuasion written by Carrie Cracknell and with a screenplay written by Ron Bass and Alice Victoria Winslow loosely follows the narrative of Austen’s first novel. Anne Elliot — rich attractive, beautiful, and charming was once in love with penniless young sailing sailor Frederick Wentworth. They were set to get married. However, Anne’s family and friends convinced her that she must not be wasting her time at the age of 19 to an individual with little money and no prospects which is why she broke the heart of Wentworth.

If both film and novel begin, it’s 8 years after. Anne hasn’t been able to get over Wentworth however, she’s an old lady, content with spending her time taking care of her sisters as well as the children of her sister. Wentworth is, however is now a naval captain. He’s now a renowned and wealthy seeking an intimate partner and is still furious at Anne for having ended their relationship the way she did. The circumstances conspired to allow him to stay at the home of her sister, as Anne is also staying there.

Austen’s Anne responds to these situations as she would react to all things and remains as calm and collected as is possible, and being tortured inside. It is the tension that exists between pressures of society Anne must navigate and her emotional turmoil is a major factor that drives the Austen Persuasion forward, and what makes it such a heartbreaking read.

This type of inner split is admittedly a hard one to portray on screen. This solution Cracknell and her team came up with is certainly an original one and they have eliminated the entire issue.

On Netflix’s Persuasion, Anne takes on the characteristics of the heroine in an ’90s romcom of a middle-tier, crying in the bathtub, drinking into large quantities of wine crying when she falls and ends up throwing gravy on her head. If she’s not crying at the bathtub, she’s either laughing with the camera over the blunders of her family members or blurting out nonsensical quips when in uncomfortable social settings. “Sometimes I have a dream that an octopus is sucking my face,” she says to a friend at a party.

Wentworth however, has lost the polished style and go-getter vigor of his comic and film counterpart. In the role of Cosmo Jarvis Wentworth has a shy and sultry appearance. unfocused, and a bit hazy as the character is a Darcy Cyborg, but without the particularity. He has a good look however there is no proof of any kind behind it.

The film is briefly reintroduced in the moment that Henry Golding arrives to play Mr. Elliot, Anne’s cousin and Wentworth’s adversary to win her love. Golding is in full mustache-twirling, villainous mode (although inexplicably, Cracknell has not included the storyline where the character Mr. Elliot is actually revealed to be a villain). Golding’s presence brings an energizing jolt to the story.

The energy of the film is absent here, a fact of which the movie seems completely unaware. Persuasion is a saga that continues under the assumption that its anachronisms and trendy motifs will bring old fusty Austen into a new light. In the scene where Austen wrote, using her exquisitely tuned perception of humor and social conundrums, “Now they were as strangers, and even worse than strangersbecause they couldn’t ever be friends. It was a constant discord,” Cracknell renders the sentence as achingly clumsy, “Now we’re strangers. We’re even more so than strangers. We’re ex-lovers.” The camera pauses to let you look at the results as if the film did you a favor of helping Persuasion seem sensible today in 21st Century just as Clueless helped make Emma be believable in the 20th century.

The thing is the Austen’s Persuasion has already made sense in this day and age. (So as, for instance do Emma which was a fact about that The Clueless was well aware.) Yes, the social norms that led to Anne Elliot determined to cover her own pain have been altered. But the feelings in the novel’s heart -love, longing and despair — bleed deeply into the current.

The adaptation of the Emma to Clueless was successful because the adaptation of Regency manners to a ’90s SoCal High School was fun and humorous. Clueless did not attempt to explain the Emma to an audience that was too dumb to understand the concept. It was having fun with its viewers.

Persuasion‘s attempt to translate modern-day societal norms into Regency England is clumsy and condescending. It’s as if the film believes that you’re not smart enough to comprehend Jane Austen on your own Instead in trying to make Austen’s story to life, they’ve chosen to give you a brief summary of the novel.

In one memorable scene of the Austen novel Persuasion, Wentworth tells Anne, “I am half agony, half hope.” Netflix’s Persuasion is a saga of pain and suffering.

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