After viewing Persuasion, most will be of the Persuasion that this adaptation best be left un-adapted. Certainly no expert on Jane Austen, this version has too many gulps and gasps, winks and nods for me. I also found the continual dialogue into the camera off-putting, not at all as one imagines 1818 England. Is it just me, or does anyone else think Dakota Johnson has become the flavor of the month? From Peanut Butter Falcon to Cha Cha Real Smooth, she seems everywhere. Will her role as Anne Elliot make the audience overlook the Fifty Shades trilogy? I doubt it.
Persuaded to forego her true love eight years prior due to his lack of prospects, Anne still pines for her loss. Yet, the wit of Jane Austen still shines. “Who needs romance when you have family?” When given a second chance, Anne is determined to “be myself.” A friend advises “no, don’t do that at least until the second year of marriage.” Of course, it wouldn’t be Austen unless she comments on status. “It’s common knowledge that households employing less than five servants are unsanitary.” So, the fault of Persuasion lies not with the author, but with the production. Poor casting and lousy direction will do that. I give the Netflix movie 2.0 Gavels and it receives a poor 31% Rotten Tomatoes rating with an unpersuasive 5.6/10 IMDb score.
The Elliot family, now in debt, rents Kellynch Hall to Admiral Croft and his wife. Her nephew happens to be now wealthy Captain Fredrick Wentworth, the man rejected as unsuitable by Anne. He looks for marriage but burnt once, he avoids Anne. Worse, he proposes friendship. At first, young Louisa urges Anne to encourage Wentworth, then finds herself falling for the man. Overhearing a conversation between the two, Anne thought she hit bottom but now realizes she has much further to fall. Maybe the wealthy and dashing, distant cousin, William Elliot, will make her forget her woes.
Not only is Dakota Johnson out of place in 1800’s England, Cosmo Jarvis (Wentworth) may be out of place in the acting world. I am withholding judgment until I see him in the lead in the upcoming FX series Shogun. With his stiff upper jaw (not just lip), he looks like he went to the David Caruso School of Thespians. Henry Golding, Mr. Snake Eyes himself, is William Elliot, but would make a better Wentworth.
As Wentworth and Anne argue over whose love lasts longest, we finally near the end of this 107 minute bore-a-thon. For a pair that hopes for one more chance, the sparks never ignite. She smirks, he scowls, and that’s the best we get.
“The more familiarity one has with Austen, the more likely the 2022 Persuasion is to be seen as an abomination.” ReelViews
“The more honest title might be Bridgerbag, such is the influence of two recent cultural landmarks. The satin sheen of another Netflix hit, Bridgerton, is all over the look of the film — the air of millennial hot mess comes not-quite-fresh from Fleabag.” Financial Times
In other words, Netflix fails again. Is it time to pull the plug? You already have, have you?