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4.2 out of 5 stars239
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on January 8, 2004
My copy of the novel "Persuasion" refers to it as having an "autumnal" tone, which has definitely carried over into this adaptation. It makes no pretensions to being another "Pride and Prejudice," or "Sense and Sensibility", lacking those books' underlying theme of warm friendship between sisters. Nor is it like "Emma" or "Northanger Abbey," both comedies featuring immature women and their self-discovery. In other words, "Persuasion" may be a disappointment to those who passionately love one of those other stories, and expect the same thing. This is ironic, considering that some believe "Persuasion" was based on an incident in Jane Austen's real life, where she apparently turned away a suitor in her youth, and later regretted it.
Again - the "autumnal" tone is picked up by the two leads, who are older and less conventionally attractive than, say, Kate Beckingsdale or Jeremy Northam. Ciaran Hinds has a quiet charisma that grows the longer you watch him, and has developed into a viable leading man. Amanda Root begins the film as a grey little mouse and transforms into a more lovely woman halfway through, solely through her skill as an actress, and not through a film of vasoline smeared on the camera.
Those who complain that Root is not pretty enough to fit their mental image are missing the point, and probably did not read the book, where Austen points out that Anne's beauty had faded with age. (As we read on, we realize that it's her love for life that's dimmed, which in turn has affected her attractiveness to others. Her handsome father certainly becomes less good-looking each time his prissy behavior is described.)
In the film, it would be easy to pull a "Grease"-like transformation - where, like Olivia Newton John, Amanda Root comes out all dolled up in makeup and a hot bodice, ready to jump on the Regency tilt-a-whirl. But the Captain and Anne regain their passion for another through their rediscovery of each other's hearts, not their good looks - although seeing each other's good character instantly brightens their countenance and puts a spring in their step, making them much more attractive. Neither Hinds nor Root need a gallon of makeup to make this transformation believable.
The two performances that I enjoyed most, however, were that of Sophie Thompson and Fiona Shaw. Thompson, who was only vaguely boorish in "Four Weddings and a Funeral," as a woman despairing of meeting a quality mate, goes full-hog as a high maintenance mooch. Very funny.
Shaw, on the other hand, is one of the funniest things about the "Harry Potter" movies, as Harry's dreadful aunt. Here, she is positively vibrant as a happy naval wife. She just brims with love and vigor, believable as a woman who has travelled the seas to be with her husband, and who wishes happiness for her younger brother and all around her. Both the character and the portrayal make a fine contrast to Anne's waspish sisters and father, and the overindulgent yet loving Musgroves. Only five years older than costar Root, with what seems to be a great range, I wonder what charm Shaw might have brought to the role of Anne if she had been offered the part at an appropriate age.
This is a warm, and yes, subtle movie, which will chase away the blues on a winter day.
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on July 14, 2004
This movie is not only the best film adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, it's also a wonderful film in its own right. What did I love about it?
1) It isn't stuffy and unnatural. The characters sound human when they speak; you can imagine that this is how people spoke in the 19th century - not like pompous orators, but like real people. The world surrounding the characters isn't overly polished or brightly lit; again, there's a natural, "lived-in" feeling to all the buildings and landscapes; they do not look like they came out of a glossy postcard.
2) The performances. I don't have enough praise for Amanda Root, who plays Anne Elliot, a woman whose marriage prospects are slim to nil, and who has just been thrown into the company of a man whom she rejected years ago. Root can speak volumes just with her eyes, and everything about her fits perfectly with the gentle, wry and intelligent Anne Elliot. As Captain Wentworth, Ciaran Hinds is also great; he disappears into the character. Both actors aren't conventionally beautiful or handsome either; Root in particular blossoms before the viewers eyes - at first she's very faded and quiet, and then we (like Wentworth) see her spirit shine out. In addition to Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds, the rest of the cast also do a wonderful job. Perhaps because there aren't any big name actors, we can get totally immersed in the film.
3) It's true to Austen. There's subtle humor, real human feeling, and a keen understanding of human nature. It's an unforgettable love story.
4) The kiss. One kiss - perfectly timed, perfectly executed... you will melt.
5) The soundtrack. This holds true particularly for the assembly at Bath, and the Italian vocal pieces.
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on February 4, 2012
I loved this movie. I had seen this movie before purchasing it, but still, seeing it again was so wonderful. For me, this is definitely my favorite Jan Austen movie (gasp! Even more than the Pride and Predjudices! ) because it is so personal, and relatable! and heartbreaking, and intimate. This movie does 'pining for love' so well! I felt so connected to the characters throughout the entire film, and I just knew and empathized with so much of what they both were feeling throughout the entire film. Don't get me wrong, though! This movie is a classic, period, British film through-and-through, and has all of those beautiful every-day life moments you expect. But, it also has the fact that I was able to get everything, every nuance, every emotion, every thought going on beneath the surface throughout the entire film and from all of the actors' from so many subtleties. Just lovely.
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on May 31, 2009
Of all the productions of this amazing story by Jane Austen, this is hands-down the best. Okay sure, there are no dazzling beautiful women, and the Captain Wentworth may not be the most handsome man in any navy, but this is no way detracts from the story, but rather adds a sense of realism to it. The costumes and sets and language and manners are all true to the times, and everything seems so REAL - not like a set or a script or acting. Sailors look weatherbeaten, not soft-skinned and perfect, the women are every-day women with flaws and virtues, the scenery is classically english, and the houses look lived in. Amanda Root is a perfect Anne. THe acting in this production is incredible and convincing, and the directing is superbe. This movie keeps more of the story than the newest production with Sally Hawkins and is much more fun and realistic than the older production. And the actress for Mary (Sophie something) provides such a wealth of subtle, hilarious humour that this movie is in want of nothing! Amazing!
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on June 5, 2003
IMO, this production only improves with time. As much as I liked watching it the first time, subsequent viewings served to heighten my pleasure and esteem for this very delicate and special film. Amanda Root is just perfect in her role as Anne Elliot; you can truly feel her every emotion, repressed or otherwise. And Ciaran Hinds is, as always, simply excellent as the dashing Captain Wentworth. Their passion and pain lingers just under the surface and is really exquisitely portrayed and filmed. But, as I've stated, this film has great delicacy and is definitely NOT an in-your-face love story by any means! (Oh, I shudder to think how Hollywood would have handled - botched! - this production.) The cast in general is outstanding, btw.
One note, however, is that if you have not read the book you will not immediately understand the gist of Anne & Frederick's previous romance. The film opens without mention of their past relationship some years earlier. However, the situation is clarified in time.
Persuasion is my alltime favorite Austen adaptation and, in its own quiet way, a stunning film of rare quality.
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on March 21, 1999
Being a great fan of Jane Austen, I've read the novel "Persuasion" many times, but this movie ruins my memory of the book. The script might be mostly faithful to the novel, and those who haven't read the book might like the movie for its story. BUT those who have read the book will only find this movie a huge disappointment, for aesthetically this movie is poorly done. First of all, The two main characters are miscast. Amanda Root looks too old to be Anne. Although Anne is not supposed to look very young, but according to the book, people still find her attractive, special, and even beautiful. Amanda Root, on the contrary, only looks like an ordinary middle-aged woman who can hardly excite any admiration. Ciaran Hinds is miscast as Captain Wentworth for similar reasons. Besides the miscasting, the overall look and atmosphere of the picture is rather coarse compared to Emma Thompson's "Sense and Sensibility," which is the only movie adaptation of Jane Austen's novel that is worthy of the original and the only one that I'll recommend.
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on June 30, 2004
I have always been a Jane Austen fan, but never read this particular book. Very well acted, and contains the sentiments of the book. Would definately recommend
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on August 5, 2004
This is a wonderful story of young love lost and then found again. Anne once loved Capt. Wentworth, but was persuaded by her family, and a family confidant, that he was not worthy of her because he had no money and social status. He goes off to sea, rejected by Anne. She remains a spinster. Meanwhile, her father spends the family into a much reduced state of splendour. When Capt. Wentworth returns he is the good catch, but he does his best to ignore Anne and semingly sets his sights on another. Because this is the 19th century, she can only pine for him in silence...and the looks they give each other just melt your heart!
So - Is she persuaded a second time to reject him or will true love conquer all?
I first saw this in a video store which then went out of business. I went to the sale expressly to buy this one video. It was gone! So, I was thrilled to find it here on DVD and have bought it, watched it and will continue to cherish it.
It also taught me to really enjoy Cirian Hinds. He is just a great actor. He is also wonderul in Jane Eyre!
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on March 13, 2008
This movie is more romantic than Pride, and I'm a big P&P fan! Even when you compare the books... The two leads in this movie were believable, sincere, and oh so romantic. Stick-thin Hollywood misses and heart-throb of the year don't do justice to Austin's work. A must own! And the scene when they finally get together? You have to see it to know what REAL, emotional acting is all about.
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on February 8, 2014
There are many things to like about this adaptation - I like the 'naturalness' of it - you see people with less than perfect hair, natural manners, people walking through mud, dirty petticoats, feet on fenders....This is very appealing to me. I think where this falls down a little is the re-connection of the 2 leads. I wish that Anne had more moments of reflection, even being able to 'hear' her innermost thoughts, and not rely so much on the viewer's previous knowledge of the story. The same could have occurred with Captain Wentworth - more of a change of heart - from being openly resentful towards her and his gradual softening....We see this a little when he places her in the carriage, and when he says, "No one is as capable as Anne" etc, but I think it could have been better. Amanda Root is just a shade too plain for Anne...I would have liked to see more of a second bloom in her with her renewed prospects.....The scene where Wentworth writes the note to Anne is lovely, but it seemed a bit random....I would have liked to see more foreshadowing of it......whether this is a fault of the novel or this adaptation, I'm not sure. I usually hate things spelled out too obviously, but it still could have been done subtly and then the audience could have 'rooted' for them..It's ok, but falls a bit flat...
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