Jane Austen She is one of the authors who has had the greatest number of adaptations throughout history. titles like Pride and Prejudice, emma, sanity and feelings They have passed through the screen on more than one occasion. From plays, series and movies, his novels have had countless versions, period and contemporary, some with greater or lesser success. One of the additions to this new list of adaptations is Persuasionthe original film of Netflix starring dakota johnson which has just been released in the catalogue.
As its name indicates, the film is based on the novel of the same name that Austen completed in 1816, a year before his death. Although many consider Pride and Prejudice its most prominent title, Persuasion could be considered the best story of all the writings of the famous British author, or at least the most emotional and romantic of all.
The story follows Anne Elliot (dakota johnson), a 28-year-old woman, about to fall from grace and become a spinster for life (according to the conventions of the time). Eight years earlier, and after a fleeting and intense courtship, Anne is engaged to Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis), a sailor without rank or fortune, and is persuaded by his father and Lady Russell (an old family friend) to break off in engagement. So Anne decides to break up with Wentworth, who, angry and heartbroken, returns to the ocean in search of new adventures, granting her greater status and fortune.
With the roles now reversed, Anne’s vain father, Sir Walter (a great Richard E Grant), after wasting his fortune, he must lease Kellynch Hall, the family property, and move to Bath. With this situation, Anne will come face to face with her old love and with the uncertainty of whether the feelings between the two have changed or there is still some hope for these broken hearts.
The netflix movie directed by theater director Carrie Cracknell It maintains the main structure of Austen’s story, but adds a series of transformations, especially to the heroine of this story, that do not live up to the words that Austen wrote more than 200 years ago.
Already at that time, the writer did not shy away from presenting strong protagonists, with their own voice and thought. something that new film tries to force in an almost absurd way with a quasi-millennial comedic tone in which Johnson’s Anne Elliot is constantly breaking the fourth wall, which at times leads one to wonder if she is addressing us or her thousands of followers on Instagram. The question that many have asked themselves in the last hours is what will they think Phoebe Waller Bridgethe talented creator and protagonist of the masterful fleabagwhich constantly breaks the fourth wall to delight us with its ironies and stage directions according to the situation.
But this pseudo “update” of the new Persuasion it is not exhausted in the breaking of the fourth wall or the careful shots in pastel rooms with excessive gold ornamentation (almost copied from the adaptation of emma by Autumn de Wilde), there are elements that are simply out of place. Like when Anne recounts that Wentworth set her up a “playalist” by showing a bunch of sheet music, or when she refers to him as her ex.
To this we could add the casting of Dakota Johnson in the lead role. According to Austen’s description of her character, Anne Elliot was a beautiful young woman whose light goes out before her time, turning “thin and pale”, the complete opposite of what we see in Johnson in his portrayal of Anne. Instead of the sober and melancholic tone that characterizes Anne, we see a shrewd, caustic protagonist, who is not afraid to speak her mind about her family and her surroundings, always clutching a bottle of wine. embodying andIt is a liberating, relaxed and “hippie chic” air to which Johnson has so accustomed us in his performances, something he has done very well throughout his career but completely away from what Austen had in mind. And let’s not even talk about the non-existent British accent.
Like other recent period productions such as Bridgerton, the streamer also takes the liberty of including a diverse cast, once again missing the truth of the novel and the story, which also accounted for the class differences and discrimination to which various groups were subjected. Something that certainly has nothing wrong with it, but that does not stop feeling genuine when one sees this type of historical productions.
Cracknell transforms a melancholic story of lost loves in a romantic comedy which is a complete departure from what Austen wrote. In general, the new version of Persuasion It’s watchable and might be entertaining for its 1 hour and 47 minute runtime, but lovers of Jane Austen and period productions won’t find it all that appealing.