Adaptation Review: Persuasion [2007]

This is the very first time I’m reviewing an adaptation but seeing it’s still highly relevant, and, after all, I have reviewed The Turn of the Screw in Opera, I thought why not? I do have a penchant for those lovely BBC Regency and Victorian productions. It’s also fun to spot any other British actors in any one of these productions. It seems like a rite of passage for each actor to star at least once in a BBC period piece, Miss Marple or Poirot.

This 2007 adaptation of Persuasion really is a lovely companion to the novel. It is fairly short and it doesn’t attempt to laboriously reproduce and insert each and every scene. Sally Hawkins (Fingersmith, Happy-Go-Lucky) plays Anne Elliot, an unmarried 27-year old woman who is pushed around and unappreciated by her family. Her father (played here by Anthony Head a.k.a. ‘Giles’) and elder sister, Elizabeth, are very proud people who are adamant that segregation between high and low society and the purity of titles be maintained. At the age of nineteen, Anne was persuaded by her godmother to reject the proposal of her beloved because he was a poor, penniless sailor. Broken hearted, Frederic Wentworth (a very worthy and most eye catching , Rupert Penry-Jones) leaves for the seas.

In the current day, Anne’s father and sister have bankrupted the family’s fortune with their reckless spending and inability to concede that they are not as wealthy as their title (Sir Elliot) may indicate. Their family home is let out and Sir Elliot and Elizabeth go off to Bath while Anne goes to stay with her younger, married and whiny sister nearby. In true Austenite coincidences, the Elliot house is leased to Frederic’s sister and her husband. News have come that Frederic, now Captain Wentworth, is now extremely wealthy and is coming down to visit. News of Captain Wentworth’s return distresses Anne, angry that she was persuaded to let go of the one man she truly ever loved and she is certain that he is still angry that she could have been so easily persuaded. The two inevitably meet, moving in the same circle of friends, and there is a lot of subtle flirting and tension as they get to know one another again without meaning to.

The cast was fantastic although I wasn’t too sure about Hawkins’ Anne. I had imagined Anne as more confident and not as easily startled or flustered. Penry-Jones’ Captain Wentworth was divine. πŸ™‚ The camera work was a little bizarre sometimes, with odd angles and frames, the ending especially so with all the running and close ups.

I had read Persuasion last year and I absolutely loved it (though I didn’t review it). It is such a quiet, strong and mature approach to romance. Dare I say that I found it even more romantic than Pride and Prejudice? I thought Austen could never top Darcy but Wentworth (he went off to the seas to find his worth?) comes pretty darn close.

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15 comments

  1. Ooh sounds great. I love watching classics adaptations in fall and winter, hope I can find this one at the library. I really liked the novel so hope the film will be for me too. I liked Hawkins in Fingersmith πŸ™‚ But who tops Darcy??! πŸ˜‰ (though I prefer the new P&P adaptation which seems to shock so many people)

    1. Have you seen Lost in Austen? The actor playing Darcy is also pretty spunky. πŸ™‚ Must be that aloofness we must be attracted to. The new P&P adaptation isn’t too bad but Keira Knightly ruins it for me with that pout of hers.

      1. Nope, but I’ll put that one on the movie list πŸ™‚ Perhaps her pout is just her normal expression? πŸ˜‰ I actually like her in period pieces

  2. Hear, hear! Persuasion is, in my opinion, much more Romantic than Pride and Prejudice, because it shows that love lasts, even when all hope is gone. I don’t know, it just has a more mature feel to it. But then, I am very much a Persuasion advocate.

    As for the adaptation, did you ever see the 1995 adaptation? Many love it better than the 2007 one, although I am unsure. I have this thing you see, against the 1995 casting of Wentworth, I just can’t find him attractive in any way. As for the 2007 version, I loved it. There is one problem I have with it however, and that is that the camera work seems awkward at times: there are a lot of shifting perspectives, moving camera shots and it took me a while to see past that.

  3. Yes, Persuasion is my romantic favourite too, really. P&P is special – there’s no doubt about that – but Persuasion is really heart pumping. Nice review Mae and I agree with a lot of what you say. Overall, I prefer the Amanda Root (Anne) version from around 1995. This Anne didn’t quite work for me for the reasons you give, and the insane running around Bath at the end was really over the top. It made me laugh and that wasn’t right! Rupert though was great.

  4. Oh Persuasion is worlds apart from P&P. There is heartache and longing in Persuasion that is absent from the much lighter P&P. A much more mature novel I think, and my favourite Austen.

    I enjoyed this adaptation but the crazy camera angles and excessive panting did annoy me! I loved Sally Hawkins as Anne though. I thought she did a brilliant job and captured her as I’d imagined her – a bit of a doormat, but with enough spirit to stand her ground when it mattered.

    1. I did cheer when Anne finally stood up for herself but she seemed to do it more (or perhaps we get more of an internal dialogue going there) in the book. The crazy camera angles!!

  5. You know, although I love P&P (I probably am in the minority of preferring the adaptations to the book but then I may have to re-read the book again), I don’t think I’ve read or watched Persuasion… I think I really should.

    1. Hawkins as Anne was pretty much how I pictured her too. On the plus side, Wentworth was definitely much more better looking than I had imagined!

  6. Oh, I’ve seen this and I loved, loved it. I haven’t read the book. I want to wait till I’ve forgotten the plot a bit before tackling it. It’s very different from P&P which I also love but this one I probably love just as much. Great story.

  7. I forgot how much I adored Wentworth! I don’t keep up with adaptations, but I will try and check this out. Cheers!

    I’m all for weird camera angles πŸ˜›

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