Customer Review

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've watched it again and this adaptation still "pierces my soul"!!, 6 April 2007
This review is from: Persuasion : Complete ITV Adaptation [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
It's been a while since I watched this TV adaptation of Jane Austen's last (and maybe more personal) novel, "Persuasion".
And I watched it last night, I fell in love with it all over again!

First of all, the story is absolutely breathtaking. Jane Austen wrote it when she was dying, so the novel became a kind of race against time. But the style is really fantastic. The story is about 2 people , Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth, who unexpectedly meet again after being separated for eight years. Eight years ago, Anne and Wentworth fell deeply in love with each other ("there were no two hearts so open") but as Wentworth had no money and nothing to recommand himself, Anne's father and Lady Russel, Anne's deceased mother's friend, persuaded Anne to refuse his proposal, on account of Anne being too young and of Wentworth being pennyless.
The story starts in this adaptation when Captain Wentworth successfully returns to the country from the war, having made a fortune in the Navy, with the intention of living peacefully and of finding a wife. They meet again unexpectedly when Anne's father, a heavy spender has to let the family house, Kellynch Hall, to the Crofts who happen to be closely related to Wentworth.
Anne has never forgotten Wenworth and although she has received other proposals from elligible men, she is still unmarried at the age of 27 and still regrets having refused to marry Wentworth. He, on the other hand, shows he has never forgiven Anne and looks determined not to renew any kinds of relations with her...
For me, this adaptation beautifully recreates this wonderful love story! Even if you are not convinced by the performances of some actors, the mere presence of the two leading actors, Rupert Penry-Jones (Spooks) and Sally Hawkins (newcomer)is enough to make you fall for this new version. They are simply fantastic. Sally Hawkins is perfect to me as Anne Elliot! I like the idea that we are in Anne's head and all the film is based on her point of view. I think the director and the producers have managed to keep the spirit of the book as we can have a glimpse of Anne's inner world and share her pain, her hopes and what she thinks of the people around her. Sally Hawkins has a very mesmerizing voice. It is impossible not to feel moved by her in some way. The camera revolves around her and seems to reinforce her solitude and her sadness. It also shows people from her point of view which might be disconcerting the first time we see the film as there are many close-ups of the actors. With Rupert Penry Jones, SH forms a very good-looking pair. There is such a chemistry between them that every scene with them is a delight for me.
Rupert Penry Jones just takes my breath away. He embodies Captain Wentworth to the perfection. I know he looks young for the part but even in the book, it is mentioned that while Anne has lost her bloom, he hasn't changed much all these years. I don't how to explain it but every time he enters a room, he is utterly dashing, I can't help saying to myself 'God, he has so much class!'His big, blue eyes staring at Anne with cold anger are enough to make me shiver with delight. Another reviewer, Mim (I think), said that Wentworth was aware of Anne both in and out of her actual presence. And I agree with that. Rupert's acting gives me the impression that even when she 's not present, he can't help thinking about her. Even when there are many people around them, they are so "aware" of each other that you can't help feeling the bond between them. The two of them are so good together that it's mesmerinzing to watch their scenes.
The music is lovely, haunting and adds to the solitude of the heroine. The landscapes are worth noticing, of course.
Yet, I admit that this TV film still has some flaws, mainly with the script. There is some nonsense in some lines (Louisa and Wentworth talking about Anne and Charles Musgrove) and two or three dialogues, especially the one with Anne saying that women love the longest, aren't placed at the right time. The ending feels too rushed, and although I actually enjoy the race scene and see the symbolism of that scene, the scenes or shall I say -moments- when Anne goes / runs after Wentworth are really too fast-paced!
It also took me a long time to appreciate the performance of the other actors. But the more I watch this TV film, the more I enjoy the presence of all the actors.
Despite these flaws, it is definitely a 'must see'. Just don't stop at one viewing. Even after three or four viewings, I realize that there are still many little details (about the symbolic of some scenes) that escaped my notice before. This adaptation is a romantic film for all generations! And maybe the two leading actors can entice you to read the novel or re-read it.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Feb 2008 11:38:01 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2008 11:39:04 GMT
I agree with every sentiment of his review. I don't believe it is possible to always accurately follow a novel's theme. But for me, this film achieved everything it appears to have for the writer of this review.

Posted on 25 Jun 2009 11:01:59 BDT
BookLover says:
"This adaptation beautifully recreates this wonderful love story! Even if you are not convinced by the performances of some actors, the mere presence of the two leading actors, Rupert Penry-Jones (Spooks) and Sally Hawkins (newcomer)is enough to make you fall for this new version. They are simply fantastic. However, I didn't feel that way the first time I saw it. But, it did eventually grow on me. I love it now."

"...it is definitely a 'must see'. Just don't stop at one viewing."

I absolute agree! I also grew to love it now and watched it like ten times during the last month....the more the merrier!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Mar 2011 19:07:42 GMT
April79marie says:
me too! I 've just seen it again and I still find myself hooked to this TV adaptation!

Posted on 11 Jan 2013 17:03:30 GMT
Rearda says:
I've read through the reviews here, good and bad, and this one has persuaded me to watch this film. I'm not looking forward to the ending - even this ***** review is negative about that - but the idea of re-watching to catch nuances and symbolism appeals to me; it's why I re-read books. Jane Austen's socially constricted world is a challenge that few modern screen writers and directors can portray well, because they don't really understand it, nor why it is vital to the successful retelling of the stories. Let your protagonists run around kiss in public, and you may as well have set it in the 1950s, because it's no longer a Jane Austen.
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