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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 19 February 2013
My favourite Jane Austin book and adaptation. Simply sublime. Much better than the ITV adaptation even though that one had Rupert Penry Jones.

This is the Ciaran Hinds/Amanda Root one and has to be the best ever.

Please try it. You'll not regret it.
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on 20 September 2016
This is not the best interpretation of an Austin novel, and probably not the best interpretation of Persuasion. I'm not fan of Austen's novels, but this one showed more maturity and depth than most of the others. There were even some interesting male characters. But the series didn't quite hit the button for me. Root, on the other hand, was excellent as the confused and torn Anne but Hinds Wentworth killed any hope of 4 stars. He was wooden. A shame. The other characters were well enough acted, with Fleetwood as Lady Russell a highlight. I almost warmed to her.

The adaptation was well handled but overall a little disappointing.
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on 3 March 2005
"Persuasion," the film, is a faithful adaptation of Jane Austen's final completed novel, and to my mind her finest book.
Roger Michell directed, with subtlety and brilliance, and brought Ms. Austen's masterpiece to life on the big screen. The pure magic of the romance alone captivates, along with the Regency English period history, brilliant characterizations, color, music and costumes.
The movie deals with the same social issues as the book, especially the British class system. Rigid social barriers existed - and everyone wanted to marry "up" to a higher station - and into wealth. This is also a very poignant and passionate tale of love, disappointment, loss and redemption. The point is clearly that one shouldn't ever be persuaded to abandon core values and beliefs, especially for ignoble goals. There are consequences, always.
Sir Walter Elliot, Lord of Kellynch Hall, (portrayed by a wonderfully dispicable Corin Redgrave), is an extravagant, self-aggrandizing snob, and a bit of a dandy to boot. He has been a widower for many years and spends money beyond his means to increase his social stature. His eldest daughter, (Phoebe Nicholls), upon whom he dotes, is as conceited and spoiled as he is. The youngest daughter, Anne (Amanda Root), is an intelligent, sensitive, and unassuming woman in her late twenties when the film begins. She had been quite pretty at one time, but life's disappointments have taken their toll and her looks are fading. She and her sister are both single. Anne had once been very much in love with a young, and as yet untried, navel officer. A woman who had been a close friend to Anne's mother, persuaded Anne to call off the engagement, convincing her that she could make a better match. After much consideration, Anne did not follow her heart, or her better judgement, and she and her young officer, Frederick Wentworth (Ciaran Hinds), separated. She has never again found the mutual love or companionship that she had with him.
The Elliot family is forced to financially retrench because of their extravagance. They lease Kellynch Hall to...of all people...Wentworth's sister and her husband. Elliot, his oldest daughter and her companion, move to a smaller lodging in Bath for the season, leaving Anne to pack up their belongings before joining them. She gets the Cinderella treatment throughout the film. Anne chooses this time to visit with her middle sister, an abominably spoiled, whiny hypochondriac, Mrs. Musgrove. She has made a good, but not brilliant match to a local squire. Charles Muskgrove, her husband, his parents, and their two younger, eligible daughters, Louisa and Henrietta, are delightful. There are wonderfully warm scenes of family and friends dining, dancing, hiking over the gorgeous countryside, and at the seashore, that bring the audience smack into early 19th century English life.
It is at the Muskgrove estate that Anne meets Frederick Wentworth again, after his absence of seven years. Wentworth is now a Captain in the Royal Navy and quite wealthy. When their eyes meet for the first time, you can absolutely feel Anne's longing and remorse. Intense. I cannot imagine a better actress to play Anne than Amanda Root. She slowly transforms herself from a sallow, aging spinster to a luminescent woman in love - and this is not just the makeup. Wentworth is aloof with Anne, although civil. The man was hurtfully rejected once before and it appears that he still feels the sting of her snub. Now Wentworth is on the marriage market and Louisa sets her cap for him. Accidents and various adventures ensue, from the resorts of Lyme and Bath to the Muskgrove estate, bringing Anne and Wentworth closer together. If Ms. Root is the perfect Anne, then Mr. Hinds is the best possible Wentworth. He is as large and virile as she is petite and feminine. He oozes sensuality...however, he portrays his character with great subtlety. The entire production is brilliantly cast and the acting is superb
I think this is Ms. Austen's most passionate piece. Some scholars say that she modeled Anne Elliot after herself.
This remarkable film, like the novel, and the issues it tackles, is just as germane today as it was when written. Each time I view it, it just gets better. And the romance...well, no one does romance better than Jane Austen.
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on 23 May 2012
At last an adaptation of Austen that has not been turned into a chickflic. Persuasion is the most thoughtful of the novels, Austen at her most skilful and profound, so it is delightful that it has been adapted with similar confidence and subtlety. Our heroine is not a starlet but a young woman drained by disappointment and in this adaptation she really does gain radiance as her hope is rekindled.

The portrayal of her father must get the prize for best dimwit aristocrat ever, a real underplayed gem of a performance. In fact all the characters are charmingly themselves, adorable Charles, the daffy sisters, their loving bemused parents such an amiable contrast to Anne's own family. Social levels reflected in costume and language and values, from the impoverished navy family through the county up to the Vicountess (she is a Vi-count-ess!)are spot on. Lovely. Enjoy.
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on 9 July 2010
I would simply like to thank all the reviewers, especially Meerkat, who guided me to watch this version after suffering the horror of the ITV adapation (Sally Hawkins/Rupert Penry-Jones)which I'd just watched.

ITV sucked out all the values and principles Austen worked so hard to examine in her novels, dumbed down the script and did a shallow, sugar-coated romance. A sign of the times I guess. Sadly.

This version, still one or two minor inaccuracies but forgiveable, was exquisite. Not such pretty faces but wonderful.
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on 26 May 2016
We have watched this many times. Brilliant adaptation, casting and acting. Some great locations and just a joy to watch. It is a relatively straightforward tale but the central theme is very well expressed.
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on 16 September 2003
This is the best of the movie-length adaptions of Jane Austen. The BBC tv Pride and Prejudice is superlative and remains the best, of course, but that is partly because it has the time it needs. Given what can be done in the 90-120 minute framework, this is excellent. Occasionally the jumps between scenes lose one just a little, but this is easily outweighed by the elegant subtlety of the direction and acting. The Sense and Sensibility version is too pleased with its own cleverness and focuses too much on the down side of Jane Austen's social satire; Emma does just the opposite. Persuasion is, as it were, the golden mean, and while all three movie versions are eminently watchable and enjoyable, if you can only watch one, and want to get a balanced sense of the 'real' Jane Austen, then Persuasion is the one.
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on 19 April 2013
I love this DVD. The film is close to the book and very realistic to the period. I particularly like the use of natural light, even during the evenings when only candles were available. The awkwardness of various social settings is Jane Austen's real gift and this is beautifully acted. We can clearly sense the main characters' thoughts and motivations through the machinations of the plot. Highly recommended for a sensitive, intelligent take on Jane Austen's most mature novel.
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on 24 December 2007
Persuasion (1818) is often thought of as Jane Austen's most 'romantic' novel. Yet Austen's philosophy of love and romance might be quite different to what we understand as romantic today. She repeatedly counselled against a flighty over-indulgence of emotions (e.g. the characters of Marianne in Sense and Sensibility and Lydia in Pride and Prejudice), blessing her heroines with the prudence of rational love and controlled romanticism. Austen astutely recognised that women in the Georgian period, forbidden by custom and status to work beyond the home, were in danger of constructing and seeking to injudiciously act out wildly romantic fantasies. As Anne Elliott tells a naval officer in this brilliant adaptation, "We cannot help ourselves. We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us. You always have business of some sort or other to take you back into the world".

Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds excel as the leads and their on-screen chemistry is unmistakable as smouldering, unexpressed emotions threaten to penetrate the surface of their reserve. Root (who was originally sought by Emma Thompson to play the role of Marianne in Sense and Sensibility) has been frequently patronised on message boards - either consciously or unconciously - for her "plain" appearance, as if actresses must be classically beautiful before they can be considered good. I found that Root performed Anne with grace and intelligent sensitivity; she has the remarkable talent of letting her huge, searching eyes express what could often not be said in that era. Hinds makes for a Captain Wentworth as ruggedly handsome and virile as Firth in the role of Mr. Darcy; Wentworth is as morally principled as him and is a great deal tougher and more robust to boot. In his impassioned declaration to Anne - that "a man does not recover from such a devotion to such a woman, he ought not, he does not" - Hinds skillfully shows that Wentworth is thinking of his own strong, irrepressible feelings for Anne.

The leads are helped by an admirable supporting cast: Simon Russell Beale (as Charles Musgrove), Sophie Thompson (as his hypochondriac wife Mary) and Corin Redgrave (as the snobbish, spendthrift Sir Walter) do especially well, although I found that Mrs Croft (Fiona Shaw) and Lady Russell (played by Susan Fleetwood who died the year in which the film aired) sometimes look too similar to be clearly distinguished from each other.

Persuasion is quieter and more subdued than Austen's more famous novels. Appropriately the musical score is subtle and unobtrusive, complementing rather than overwhelming the dramatic moments of the narrative. Anne, too, makes for a less vivacious and lively heroine than, for example, the much-loved Lizzy Bennet. But this is not a fault: her development into self-conviction and in learning not only to trust her instincts and feelings, but more importantly to act upon them too, make her a paragon in a Georgian society which often sought to repress individual thought and feeling in women. She painfully experiences the pitfalls of letting oneself be guided or influenced by others. As Jane Austen counselled in an earlier novel, "We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be." (Mansfield Park, 1814).
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on 16 April 2010
Sensitive, subtle, funny and heart-wrenching. This film manages to be utterly true to the book and the time it was written in, while seeming more modern and "fresh" than the run of sexed-up costume dramas being churned out today. There're no Hollywood smiles, glossy make-up or unfeasibly glamorous stars - the superb cast look and act like real people. But just because it's realist doesn't make it drab. Anne's transformation is all the more dramatic for seeming to be genuinely lit from within. Gets better on every viewing!
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