It seems like Jane Austen adaptations to the big screen will never stop. This newest Netflix attempt though may be a warning sign that not everyone can get it correct.
Jane Austen has many classic books that people always try to turn into great movies. From Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, to Persuasion, they’re all novels that have captivated the minds of billions of people over the last century. Now, Netflix has taken a chance and decided to adapt Persuasion and bring it into people’s homes. Whether or not they’ve succeeded in making this a movie worthwhile that’s up to the viewers to decide. Although, if you ask the critics, they mostly seem to be in-agreement that this is a misfire of an attempt to adapt one of the most romantic novels ever written.
The Story of Persuasion
Dakota Johnson, also probably the best part of the film, plays the lead role of Anne Elliott. She, Anne, is a clever young lady whose internal monologue guides the story. Anne had a previous connection to Fredrick Wentworth, now a Captain, but they haven’t seen each other for a while. Once Captain Wentworth returns to Anne’s life, things get a little complicated as past feelings resurface and decisions have to be made.
The movie involves constant breaking of the fourth-wall between the main character and the audience. Anne talks to the viewers through expressing herself in a clear attempt to try and delegate some of the inner thoughts and book lines of the character. This filmmaking choice hasn’t really worked for a lot of people as well as all the other modernized things that the movie includes. There’s also some modern dialogue that has caught the viewers by surprise. Saying stuff like “Now we’re worse than exes, we’re friends” in a Jane Austen adaptation seems like such an odd choice of dialogue.
The critics have also pointed out that the story of the movie completely misses the point of the book. There are constant changes that go against the story that Jane Austen wanted to tell with her last completed novel in Persuasion. The runtime of the movie is not particularly offensive at 109 minutes. A little bit of the charm from the novel does appear here as well, undeniably. Moments of cute romantic gestures, pieces of masterful dialogue (thanks to the novel), and some interesting cinematography save this adaptation from being the worst movie of the year so far.
Critics and Audience’s Response
Audiences on social media have been vocal about their dislike of the movie. Constantly making fun of some of the dialogue and strange modern sequences. That being said though, the movie did trend on many countries as the number one film of the week as soon as it came out.
Critics on the other hand, as aforementioned, have been largely negative. Rotten Tomatoes averages that only 36% of critics so far have rated the film positively. Nevertheless, the movie is not that long and it’s available on Netflix at any time, so you can just click play and decide for yourself if it’s any good or not.
Just keep in mind that if you’re a devoted Jane Austen fan chances are you will hate this adaptation a lot more than just casual audiences. So, watch it at your own peril.
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