Bringing Jane Austen to the 21st Century
Kaitlin Saunders: A Modern Day Persuasion

In my heart I know you intimately.

Posted by Kaitlin Saunders in Blog on May 3, 2011

How fitting that I finish my movie adaptation reviews with Persuasion, the basis of my novel, A Modern Day Persuasion.  I believe there are two versions worth mentioning, both equally endearing in their own ways.  The 1995 adaptation starring Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds is by far the most accurate.  Although the screenwriter, Nick Dear, tweaked a few things to help the storyline flow for film, this version is a great way to sum up Persuasion after reading both the original novel and my update.

Well made, wonderfully acted, great costumes, and inspiring cinematography–this is a top contender for the best Austen film adaptation.  I love how this version allows glimpses into the time-period with its footage of animal life and servantry.  It’s also rather telling how Anne’s appearance begins to improve after the re-introduction of Frederick and the arrival of a new suitor.  Kudos to the hair and makeup team!

The second adaptation, and the most recent, was produced by BBC in 2007.  It stars Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones (the new “it” guy on British television).

Something I rather like about this version is how Anne connects to the camera.  She literally looks into it–sharing with you her pains and frustrations.  Or there’s the scenes where Anne’s writing in her journal with tears blotting the pages–you can feel the heartbreak!  The downfall of this adaptation is the awkwardness of Anne running around Bath in search of Wentworth.  Yes, Anne is excited about rekindling her romance with Frederick–but running?  It seems completely uncharacteristic of Anne, which is why Jane Austen didn’t write the story that way.  Isn’t it much more romantic that Wentworth, despite having directed Anne in his letter to give him “the signal” later that evening, couldn’t wait and therefore intercepted Anne before she could leave the Musgroves?  Although this particular plot change irks me, there are many other great things about 2007′s Persuasion which have earned it a place in my movie collection alongside its predecessor.  Not only that, but my husband prefers this adaptation!

Adieu for now friends!


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