TV adaptation of Jane Austen's novel. Anne Elliott (Sally Hawkins) has spent years regretting her rejection of Captain Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones)'s proposal of marriage, her family having been against the match on grounds of class. 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 Elliott (Tobias Menzies), while Captain Wentworth is regarded as a very eligible bachelor and has a stream of young women with marriage in mind beating a path to his door.
The work of Jane Austen is being confidently mined by filmmakers at the moment, and Persuasion
is the latest to be visited. And while there are some fair issues raised about just how faithful the film is to the source material, its nonetheless a lavish and enjoyable take on Austens story, with much to admire.
Much of the reason as to why this version of Persuasion works well lies with its talented cast. Rupert Penry-Jones, for instance, tackles the role of Captain Wentworth with skill, and Sally Hawkins too gives a performance to be admired. Backed by a primarily good supporting cast, the romantic drama is both watchable and engaging.
Inevitably, parallels are going to be drawn with the similarly strong 1995 television adaptation, and the truth is that some will favour one, some will favour the other. For our money, the earlier version just about nudges it, but the two takes on Persuasion both have enough ideas of their own to make them suitable companion pieces.
Diligently directed and suitably lavish to look at, Persuasion then shows little sign of dampening the enthusiasm for bringing Austen to screens of all sizes. And on the basis of the charming 93 minutes on offer here, thats no bad thing at all. --Jon Foster