It’s been a little while since there has been a new Jane Austen film adaptation to watch, and for some time I was really looking forward to the new Netflix version of Persuasion. Then I saw the trailer and my heart sank – miscast, packed with anachronisms of clothing and language, colour-blind casting, dialogues that would turn Jane Austen in her grave, and so much more that was wrong. I steeled myself and sat down one evening to watch it, and now I wish I hadn’t. One critic has commented that everyone involved in this movie ought to be in prison. I’d go further and suggest the rack and thumbscrews be used as well! Just when I thought the film had hit new depths, it plunged even lower. I think the ‘octopus-on-the-face’ moment (yes, I know, but don’t ask!) was probably the very worst of the worst, but there was so much that was simply unforgivable.
How can a human being with any sort of brain take such a wonderful, rich, deep and moving novel, and turn it into such an abomination?
I am not a total purist – I can cope with intelligent changes when a book is turned into a movie, but I could see no rhyme or reason for any of the changes in this film. And I found it boring, something I’ve never experienced with any Jane Austen film before. Its only redeeming feature was in casting Richard E. Grant as Sir Walter Elliot.
The new film has been panned by the critics (one described it as one of the worst films of the year) and rightly so. Few feel it is the sort of adaptation that will drive those who have never read the book to do so, and all the Persuasion addicts I know, and there are many of them, are either avoiding the film altogether or are still shuddering in horror over its many atrocities. Dante reserved special places in Hell for various categories of sinner – I’d be keeping a particularly unpleasant spot for the director, producer, scriptwriter and cast of this truly dreadful film.
Do you agree with my opinion of this film? Or are you amongst those who felt differently? I’d love to know what you think in a comment.