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Persuasion

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I saw Persuasion last night, and I have to say I was mightly impressed.

Yet we don't seem to have talked about it hardly at all over here, other than this thread's briefest mention in Diane's post.

It's most natural to compare it to the BBC's Pride-o I suppose, as it was filmed at the same time, and shown on (and I guessmade by) the BBC etc.,

Diane already pointed out that it has the advantage of being shorter than Pride-o, although I think the narrative suffers slightly as a result. The mentions Mr Elliott (the cousin) seems a little too brief, and there were other sections where you felt a lot of material had been dropped.

But from a visual poit of view, the film was far superior to the workmanlike Pride and Prejudice. The shot which zooms backwards through the window of a tea / coffee shop / pub, before taking you through the door, and round the back of the lead actors before joining into their conversation was superb. There were perhaps a few too many Doe-eyed-Anne shots, but they were also ind good, and the way they gradually started to live with the hope of hapiness in them was nicely done.

Anyone else seen this one other than Diane, SDG and me? Stu (Afterall I did borrow it from your house)

Matt

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We own it, and love it. It's my favorite Austen, partly because it's a bit darker than P&P.

Haven't seen it in a while though. Note: Watch Persuasion again soon!

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I haven't seen this one since it was brand new in the theatres, but I remember liking it a fair bit. (Ah, yes, I reviewed it for the student newspaper on page 7 of this PDF file.) I also bought this one for my wife's birthday, since it was one of the titles she recommended I get for her. :)

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Mansfield Park is also a "darker" Austen film, and I like it every bit as much as Persuasion. Both of them are gutsier than Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility (although I love that film too.) Pride and Prejudice takes fourth place on the Austen big-screen chart, although I'm also quite fond of it. Emma, which is charming in its own way, alas, ranks fifth.

I'm not counting the teen-versions of Austen, although they've been winning in their own ways.

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The only available version of "Northanger Abbey" is truly, truly awful. Horrifyingly, mind-blowingly bad.

In fact, I didn't like it.

Persuasion, on the other hand, is one of my favorite films ever! My husband even likes it (mostly because of the Naval element). Ciaran Hinds is magnificent and so is Amanda Root. I, too, love how she "blossoms" as the story progresses. I also appreciate the older ages of the protagonists. Fabulous film.

Neb

Edited by Neb

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The scene where Anne discusses whether men miss their wives or women miss their husbands more while they're away at sea is one of my all-time favorites.

In Persuasion, the "good-guy" men are men. Not boys, not fops, not heirs to great fortunes (as noble as Darcy might be) but men who, for all their flaws, made their way in the world, by the sweat of their brows. I think that's an appealing aspect of it for guys, especially in comparison to other Austens.

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Something that's interesting (and was suprising to me): the scene where everyone is complaining to the female lead (can't think of her name) is drawn very directly from the book.

It's Anne - and I'd forgotten hat that was such a great scene - thanks for reminding me.

Matt

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Well, I saw Persuasion in the theatre way back when, and I liked it immensely. In fact, if memory serves, I may have liked it more than my (then-fiancee, now-) wife! (Perhaps this is related to the "men being real men" aspect? Dunno.)

Jeffrey, when you write that P & P is third or fourth on your list, are you referring to the older BBC one (the long one), or the more recent one with Keira Knightley? Does that one rank on anyone's Austen film list here, or does this bunch not share the ga-ga ravingly good response from the mainstream critics (or many of them, seemingly)? I really liked the first hour of Joe Wright's big debut, but then my 1.5-year-old daughter acted up and I had to depart. My wife loved this latest Austen work.

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I've never seen the BBC one, although I should.

I loved Wright's film... whatever the discrepancies from the book.

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I've never seen the BBC one, although I should.

Man this is a day of Overstreet confessions - First 12 Angry Men, and now this? yOU have some catching up to do!

Are you folks talking about the "old" P&P from the 1980s, or the one with Colin Frith (1995)?
I think they're talking about the 1995 one.
Also, has anyone seen the Andrew Davies/BBC adaption of Emma that aired on A&E in the mid-1990s? It's very good - I really enoyed Kate Beckinsale in the title role.
Yes - my wife prefers the Gwennyth one, but I'm not so sure

Actually the Paltrow version has a link with persuasion - the actress who polays Anne's sister is also Miss Bates in that. And I think she does a better job than Prunella Scales - as much as I admire the latter actress (in case people didn't realise she's also Sybil Fawtly). But I do think I prefer Beckinsdale to Paltrow. As much as I think (in my head) Paltrow is English cos she's had a such credible accent in so many roles, she is a bit too smug as Emma, and a bit too Hollywood. Beckinsdale is more beliveable (even if I do keep hearing "Godber" in my head)

Matt

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I revisited this to start the blurb for A&F Top 25...it came in #17 for our list on Growing Older.

I noted that the film begins with Sir Walter talking about how being in the navy prematurely ages a man..how one admiral barely 40 looks weathered. That theme is echoed in Anne's impending spinsterhood of course. Early in the reunion, she hears gossip that Wentworth would have scarcely recognized her because she has been altered too much. (Prompting one of several scenes where Anne examines her face in the mirror.) Benwick laments the early death of his beloved (who would have married him before he left for sea). 

When Anne and Benwick are comparing poetry likes, the quote Sir Walter Scott:

 

Quote

 

Captain Benwick : [Anne and Benwick are discussing poetry and he asks her which she prefers of two poems by Sir Walter Scott. Anne answers by quoting a line from the second poem. They then alternately recite the next few lines]  Tell me, do you prefer "Marmion" or "The Lady of the Lake?"

Anne : "Like the dew on the mountain / Like the foam on the river /"

Captain Benwick : "Like the bubble on the fountain / Thou art gone /"

Anne : "and forever!"

 

That theme of transience of life is hardly unique to Romantic literature, though it is an especial emphasis in it. (I've often noted that the Hebrew word in Ecclesiastes often translated as "vanity" is more literally "breath" (hebel). So there is a spiritual significance, too, I think in the film's emphasis on the fragility as well as the transience of life. 

The camerawork is competent but unexceptional, but man oh man both Root and Hinds deliver the goods. 
Late in the film, Lady Russell (thinking Anne is going to marry Mr. Elliot) ironically states "when I was your age" she "found what I wanted."I suppose this suggests that aging is finally having the maturity to say "no" to persuasion (the film opens with Anne saying she does not blame LR or herself) but also, more important, that growing older means understanding what you want from life. It is hard to say "yes" to it until you are able to name it. 

Also, the relationship between Admiral and Mrs. Croft is a nice side-story about aging gracefully. 

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Organized my thoughts into a review.

Also, I didn't mention (in the review or here), but I thought it apropos to our Growing Older list and the idea of aging following your own path and wisdom that after the climactic kiss, Anne and Wentworth walk away from the parade/circus. They are both going against the grain and away from the "circus" of life.

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