Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Persuasion (2007)

I watched this version of Persuasion a while ago: half on Youtube, half on Masterpiece Classic (which was shortened and edited). When I first watched it the whole way through, it really didn't make too much of an impression on me. But recently, I re-watched it and have formed a better opinion of it. I guess I noticed more than when I first saw it. I had also recently finished reading Persuasion: it wasn't my favorite Jane Austen book, but I still liked it.
Box Art

Eight years ago, Anne Elliot was proposed to by Frederick Wentworth, a poor man who joined the navy, and accepted his proposal but was persuaded by her godmother, Lady Russell, to break off the engagement since Anne would be taking a big risk marrying him. Now twenty-seven and still unmarried, Anne assumes to be an old maid. When Captain Wentworth comes back into her life, having made his fortune in the navy and now looking for a wife, he is very cold to her and she thinks that he cannot forgive her for what she had done eight years ago.

Couple of members of the cast I recognized in here. Most notably:  Stella Gonet (Mrs. Musgrove) was Bea Eliott in The House of Eliott, Peter Wight (Admiral Croft) was also in a couple of episodes of Lark Rise to Candleford. I also know that Rupert Penry-Jones (Captain Wentworth) was also in the 1997 adaptation of Jane Eyre, but I had only seen clips of it.

Sally Hawkins as Anne Eliott
Sally Hawkins was absolutely lovely as Anne! I think she really captured Anne's meekness and quietness very well. In Persuasion (the book), a good part of it is what Anne is thinking or feeling: there can be pages of her thoughts and emotions. To illustrate this, the film-makers had Anne keep a journal to write down her feelings, some of which was spoken through a voice-over of Anne. In this case, I think it really worked to do that: they included that part of Persuasion which could be difficult to include and it was done fairly well. Spoiler What I didn't care for was Anne's marathon through Bath at the end. It wasn't at all like the book. She ran out of Camden Place (without a bonnet, by the way), met Mrs. Smith (who should be crippled, yet she was walking; and did anyone else find it kind of funny that her name is Harriet Smith? Any Emma fans out there?) to find out that Mr. Eliott isn't honorable (and added something that included Mrs. Clay that wasn't in the book, at least to my memory), ran to the Croft's residence to find that they had left and Captain Harville gives her Captain Wentworth's famous note, runs to find the Crofts and discovers that Captain Wentworth had just left them, to which she runs a great distance and happens to bump into Charles Musgrove, her brother-in-law, and Captain Wentworth. (Woo... That was confusing). It seemed to be unnecessary to add this whole running escapade; could anyone help thinking "Run, Anne, run!"? End of Spoiler But excepting that part, I think Anne was portrayed very well in here.

Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Frederick Wentworth
Rupert Penry-Jones's Captain Wentworth... I'm not fully convinced by it, but I'm about 90% convinced. I mean, I didn't hate his Captain Wentworth, but it didn't seem quite right. To me at least, he looked too young (I know Rupert Penry-Jones was actually about 36 or 37 for the role, and Captain Wentworth is supposed to be in his early thirties): it didn't look like he had been in the navy at all. His acting, however, was pretty good. Although Captain Wentworth isn't my favorite Jane Austen hero (he seemed to be purposely trying to ignore/hurt Anne a lot of the time, which I didn't like), but I think overall Rupert Penry-Jones did justice to Captain Wentworth as far as acting goes. I still think they could have made him look more like a Captain Wentworth that had been in the navy and worked hard to get his fortune: here he only looks like he didn't have to work hard to get his fortune.

I really didn't like Anthony Head's Sir Walter. I never pictured Sir Walter as a creepy guy... Arrogant and narcissistic, yes, but not so much creepy. There was something in the way he said lines that made him a little creepy, which isn't the effect you want for Sir Walter. You want to portray him as a caricature of an arrogant narcissistic baronet, and I just don't think that effect was expressed in here. I did think that Elizabeth Elliot was portrayed well: uncaring, selfish, and trying to be fancier than she really is.

Good scenery in here, but sometimes it can be a little bleak, especially at Lyme. I didn't care for the darker scenery at Lyme: Persuasion is one of Jane Austen's more serious novels, but I didn't picture it as dark. If they used the darker scenery at Lyme after Anne's sister-in-law, Louisa, gets hurt, it would make sense, but during the whole time? It just didn't seem to fit. The rest of the scenery was very good: the houses were very nicely furnished and there is lovely outdoor, country scenes to be seen.
Lady Dalrymple: notice the hair piece

Great costuming! Wonderful costuming! All the dresses looked lovely! My only complaint is towards the end at the concert in Bath, Elizabeth Elliot, Mrs. Clay, and Lady Dalrymple were wearing hair pieces that didn't become popular until the 1830's; I don't think they were even worn in the Regency Era or even in the early 1820s. Other than that, everything seemed pretty accurate to the period.

All the music sounded similar, but it was still very lovely. It really expressed the serious tone of the novel.

Overall: 3.75/5
Left to Right Background: Anne Elliot, Elizabeth Elliot, and
Mary Musgrove. In front: Sir Walter Elliot
Overall, I liked this version of Persuasion. It might not be exact to the book (especially at the end), but I still think that it was still a great film. Sally Hawkins was wonderful as Anne and Rupert Penry-Jones's Captain Wentworth was good. The costuming is very beautiful and a pleasure to look at. The scenery could sometimes be a little bleak, but most scenes are very nice and pretty. I enjoyed this film and wouldn't be sorry to watch it again.

Persuasion is available on DVD either with Sense and Sensibility (2008) in a special collection or on it's own. It runs for 120 minutes.


  1. The pictures aren't showing up for me (not your fault) but is this the one with the roses on the front? Or wait...the one with the pink/cream colored cover, a couple of ladies...I'll bet that's it. :) Because I think the roses one is older.

    ANYWAY, enjoyed the review! :)

  2. I just finished reading Persuasion for the first time a few weeks ago. This version looks like a good adaptation of it, even if it has some altered parts.

  3. Charity,
    I think the 1995 version had the roses on the front. This one has the purplish/creamish colors on the front. I'm glad you enjoyed the review!

    I just finished it too (maybe a month ago?). I think I liked this version better than the 1995 one (though I've only seen the 1995 one once and probably should see it again); I think the 1995 version was probably closer to the book, but I still like this version.

  4. Persuasion is my second favorite of Jane Austen's novels, I love the sweet story so much! It really is such a thoughtful mature romance that to me shows how much Jane Austen matured and grew as a writer. This being said, I dislike this adaptation because to me it takes the down to earth thoughtful story and makes it purely emotional and highly romanticized. Anne and Frederick are made into star crossed lovers and it really doesn't explain who they are and why they are so suited for each other. Some of the actors were cast okay but mostly I think they were totally off. And the scene with Anne running is just awful, so unladylike!
    It's not a bad film but as adaptations goes it's totally off. I was quite disappointed when I first watched this film.
    You did a good job on this review. You should watch Persuasion 1995 again, it is so totally in keeping with the time period and the book. It's one of my all-time favorite films!

    ~Miss Laurie
    Old-Fashioned Charm

  5. I'm glad you liked it better on the second viewing! I think it's pretty good (mostly because of Penry-Jones ...), but I do agree that ASH is super creepy. That's how he's usually cast in things, so I was surprised that they put him in this one.

    If what you're thinking of re: Mrs. Clay is what I'm thinking of (SPOILER Mr. Elliot making her his mistress to keep her away from Sir Walter END SPOILER), it was in the book, but it was a quick mention and I don't think I noticed it the first time I read it.

  6. Mimic of Modes,
    *SPOILER* I thought that Mr. Elliot and Mrs. Clay eloped. *END OF SPOILER*

  7. Miss Bennet - You are right, about Mrs. Clay (in the book).

    I enjoyed this version - I am always arguing with myself between this and the 1995 version! I like both in different ways - I prefer Anne in 1995, and Capt. Wentworth in 2007. (Although I did like Sally H.'s acting, her hair was rather annoying...)
    All in all, I think I enjoy this one better. And I did like how a lot of Anne's journal entries came from the novel...just made first person. :)

    I'll be doing a post about the Persuasion movies in a couple weeks. Then you can read all my opinions, if you care too! hehe


  8. I mean, I think I enjoy this one more. (The word 'better' doesn't really go there. I hate it when I'm typing something and then I change the wording in my head and it gets all mixed up!)


  9. Anne's spencer in the last picture is, I'm pretty sure, the same as Kitty's lavender spencer in Pride and Prejudice 1995.

  10. Miss Dashwood,
    It looks like it is the same spencer. In my Pride and Prejudice Wardrobe series, I examined Kitty's spencer ( It must be the same one.


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