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This review is from: Persuasion : Complete BBC Adaptation  [DVD] (DVD)
Jane Austen's final novel has a subtle, haunting quality very hard to capture in abridgement. The recent ITV version, crass in tone and woefully undercast, fell short in every way; I went back for relief to Roger Michell's BBC production, not seen since its original broadcast on Good Friday, 1995, and I'm delighted to say my memory played no tricks. This "Persuasion" is perfection. There are two hours of sheer pleasure on this DVD not just for Austen enthusiasts, but anyone who cares for beautifully-crafted drama. Few modern adaptations have been as sensitive to the nuances of the book and the period (the BBC's "Middlemarch", perhaps). Notwithstanding some simplification in the plot, no moment of screen time is wasted. Without exception, the cast is superb: the warm and lovely Amanda Root gives a career-defining performance of few words but heart-stopping authenticity, and meets her match in Ciaran Hinds' impressive (if faintly Irish-sounding) Wentworth. The production design is spare, the costumes perfectly appropriate to each character, the natural lighting extraordinarily graded (almost to darkness in some scenes), and the locations, including an alternately wet and shining Bath, beautifully evoked. If you want artificial, over-coloured, Hollywood-style melodrama, look elsewhere: this is Austen for the connoisseur.