After a slow beginning, in which the complex tangle of relationships is initially confusing, this BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's last novel, Persuasion
, develops into an elegant romantic comedy. Austin combines a subtle dissection of the folly of class with a slow-burning, intensely passionate love story. Anne Elliot (Amanda Root) has loved Captain Wentworth (Ciaran Hinds) ever since she was persuaded to reject him years before. Now he has returned from the Napoleonic wars, but will love be allowed to blossom? Especially when Anne is surrounded by the selfish, petty-minded Mary, misguided by Lady Russell, and burdened by a father obsessed with fairness of countenance above all other considerations. Excepting a basic booklet, on-screen character biographies and a Dolby Digital soundtrack, there is nothing to distinguish this DVD from the video version. The picture is very good, but showing some grain, not exceptional, so unless you have a large television there is little advantage over tape. In any format, what makes this adaptation work is the sharp screenplay by Nick Dear and the naturalistic style of director Roger Mitchell (who joined the A-list with Notting Hill
, 1999), together eliciting fine performances from the ensemble cast. Less flamboyant than Pride and Prejudice
(1995), this is a civilised treat. --Gary S Dalkin
BBC adaptation of the novel by Jane Austen. Anne Elliot (Amanda Root) has spent years regretting her rejection of Captain Wentworth (Ciarán Hinds)'s marriage proposal. When he returns from sea they meet, but instead of finding romance are kept apart through a series of misunderstandings. Anne is being pursued by her cousin, Mr Elliot (Samuel West), while Wentworth is now regarded as a very eligible bachelor. Will their new circumstances continue to prevent them from reuniting?