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Friday, August 10, 2018

Austen Movie Throwdown: Persuasion | guest post from Beth!

In addition to her Eat Like Austen posts this year, Beth is once again joining us for Dinner & a Movie night with an ultimate throwdown of 3 versions of Persuasion — we'll call it an honorary Friday Face Off! Check it out below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

It's time for
Who did it better? Which cast nailed the chemistry? Which director clearly did their Austen homework? Which soundtrack was cringe-worthy?
I'm breaking down the best-known Jane Austen film adaptations for you, one novel at a time.
Let's jump into the great swoonfest about regret and second chances (and most folks' second-favorite):
Production date: 2007
Type: TV Movie
Runtime: 120 min
Best moment: The casting, which is superb all around. And the longing looks Wentworth throws at Anne when she isn't looking.
Worst moment: All the shaky cam shots. It was like Blair Witch: Regency Edition. Anne's marathon (inappropriate) run throughout Bath gave me a headache with the way it was shot.
Notable omissions? I didn't feel like Mrs. Russell was portrayed true to character (more of a doting friend than someone who obviously enjoys her own influence and ability to manipulate). There were a lot of shortcuts as well- dialogue given to a different character, and many smaller scenes left out entirely.
Louisa's Cobb Jumping: Apparently, Louisa believes she's a flying squirrel and somehow manages to leap *over* Captain Wentworth and slam onto pavement and manage to only get a slight concussion. It's a Regency miracle, Charlie Brown.
Production date: 1995
Type: Movie
Runtime: 107 min
Best moment: The costuming was delightful and (I think) rather historically accurate. Also, the brief scene between Anne reading Wentworth's letter and the Pointless Circus Scene- just adorable and charming all over. And so well cast! I adore the Crofts, and Wentworth is definitely dashing here.
Worst moment: I can't think of one, to be honest, although it would've been nice to get a bit more of Anne's character (aside from pining over Wentworth but keeping her mouth shut about it).
Notable omissions? I think this one sticks closest to the book, given the dialogue, while not including ever scene.
Louisa's Cobb Jumping: Louisa jumps before Wentworth is in a position to catch her, which feels in character with the impulsive child she is (and perhaps a lack of understanding regarding physics).
Production date: 1971
Type: Mini-series
Runtime: 300 min
Best moment: After the entire first half where nearly all shots of Anne showed her looking enigmatic or smirky, with no dialogue, finally seeing her sweet flirtation with Wentworth at the Assembly concert in Bath was delightful. She seemed to grow a personality, at last!
Worst moment: The costumes. A product of their time, I'm afraid, but horrid in all ways. And two other things: pointless walking scenes (a shot of several seconds, sans music or dialogue, of the characters walking one by one into a house, or across a heath, or a vague "over there" which killed time and my attention span), and the insipid constant giggling whenever Louisa and/or Henrietta are in a scene. You'd think they were Lydia on a sugar high in the middle of a regiment.
Notable omissions? This mini-series is long and detailed enough, it must follow the books closely. In the second half, it included a lot of more subtle moments the other two lacked, which basically just added to how horrible Anne's entire family is.
Louisa's Cobb Jumping: While this has the most realistic jumpfail (Louisa slips a bit as she jumps, thus skewing her trajectory and falling too sideways for Wentworth to catch), the moment is ruined by the next scene...wherein everyone stands around Louisa, with zero reaction whatsoever, for so long I began apologizing to Louisa's prone form for the fact that her family and friends were apparently very, very stoned.
MY FAVORITE: Although the second half of the mini-series added depth to the story that the two movies lacked, my standout favorite is the 1995 movie. It has a great production quality, cast, costuming, and directorial choices.

Hey directors, where's our modern adaptation of Persuasion? Totally doable, and we need it!

[Edit from Misty: They are!]

Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event
Click here to return to the master list of Austen in August posts!


  1. I agree with everything you said. Except this is by far my favorite Austen! The 2007 version is a little cringey and the 1995 movie is my favorite. Please Hollywood give me a remake with beautiful cinematography and great casting!
    I usually do a reread and rewatch of Persuasion in the fall so I might be motivated a little early now!

    1. Yay! As Misty pointed out, there's soon to be a modern adaptation...let's hope it's amazing! :D

  2. Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel. I adore the 1995 best, but I'm game to pull any of them off the shelf whenever. :)

    Fun break down and you nailed it for all of them.

    1. Thanks! Persuasion does feel like a really personal novel...I can see why it's a favorite!

  3. I like the 1995 version the best. I haven't seen the 1971 version yet. You can get the 70s adaptations at a fairly reasonable price here in the UK, with the exception of this one, for some reason all you can get seem to be US imports. I'll watch it one day,I'm sure!

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  4. The 1995 movie is my favourite version. Ciaran Hinds' Wentworth is just the epitome to catch in my opinion. Sigh...

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  5. I completely agree with everyone else -- the 1995 version is the best! I thought Ciaran Hinds fitted the role of Wentworth better than Rupert Penry-Jones did (*hides from the legions of Rupert Penry-Jones fans*). And the letter scene is definitely better than all that running that happens in the 2007 version!

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