Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Persuasion (1995)

Finally! I got to watch this version of Persuasion again and review it! I had watched this version of Persuasion on Youtube a long time ago, but when I tried to watch it again recently, it was taken down. So, I went out and bought the DVD (which was a real bargain!) so I have another DVD to add to my collection of Jane Austen DVDs.

DVD Box Art
Synopsis taken from my review of Persuasion (2007)
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.

There were some familiar faces that I noticed as I watched Persuasion. Amanda Root (Anne Elliot) can also be seen in Jane Eyre (1996) as Miss Temple. Ciaran Hinds (Captain Wentworth) can also be seen in Jane Eyre (1997) as Mr. Rochester and Amazing Grace as Lord Tarleton. Sophie Thompson (Mary Musgrove) can also be seen in Emma (1996) as Miss Bates and is also known as being the daughter of fellow Emma actress Phyllida Law and the sister of Sense and Sensibility actress Emma Thompson. Victoria Hamilton (Henrietta Musgrove) can also be seen in Pride and Prejudice (1995) as Mrs. Forster and Lark Rise to Candleford as Ruby Pratt. And Judy Cornwell (Mrs. Musgrove) can also be seen in (though it is not a period drama) series Keeping Up Appearances.

Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth
Amanda Root as Anne was okay. She is probably a little more outspoken than I imagined Anne (which is by no means very outspoken), but I still thought she did a good job as Anne. I loved how the filmmakers put in how all the Musgroves were confiding in Anne about each other, which is actually mentioned in the book that it was what they did.

Captain Wentworth... Well, first of all, let me say that I'm not a fan of Captain Wentworth; I didn't like how he was -- how do I describe it? -- so spiteful to Anne, purposely ignoring her and seeming to intentionally injure her (emotionally). I know, he was upset that she broke his heart, but still, I thought he acted cruelly. That being said, Ciaran Hinds, I thought, looked the part of Captain Wentworth (though maybe a little older than he should have been?). I liked the way he portrayed Captain Wentworth: he was kind of distant of Anne and had the right facial expressions when he was around Anne that showed that he still loved her, but was hurt.

I really did not like Elizabeth Elliot. Not that I was supposed to (how cruelly she treated Anne!), but I don't like this portrayal of her. When I read Persuasion, I got the impression that Elizabeth was a person who would "put on airs" and act superior to everyone: she would act refined all the time, like her nose was high in the air. I did not get this impression of her in this movie: she seemed like she didn't even try to appear genteel. I guess the word to describe her was vulgar. The way she talked was not refined; at the beginning where she was eating -- what was it exactly? chocolates? -- was way too relaxed and not the refined person that she is supposed to act like.

Anne Elliot (Left), Captain Wentworth, and Anne's sister,
Mary Musgrove (Right) on a walk.
The scenery is colorful and pleasing to look at. Scenes take place in a multitude of settings. We get a brief glimpse of Kellynch, the home of the Elliots before they let it to the Crofts; the house itself is very nice and big (probably why Sir Walter had to let it). Most of the scenes in the rest of the movie take place at Uppercross (the home of Anne's sister, Mary, and her family), Lyme, and Bath. The scenes at Lyme were very pretty to look at (and I especially liked the beach scene). Bath was also nice to look at, though there was no country scenery to look at.

A good deal of the music featured music that was played on a piano: it was light and bouncy and very pleasing to listen to. The rest of the music also had a lighter tone. There was also a dance number that Anne played on the piano that I recognized from Pride and Prejudice (1995). The music was the other area in which I preferred this version to the 2007 version.

Henrietta Musgrove confiding in Anne. Love
the dress details!
Accurate. The costuming of Persuasion is what I would call accurate Regency wear. Women wore chemisettes (an undershirt that showed through the neckline) or fichus during the day for modesty and long gloves for evening wear. Mrs. Musgrove wore Georgian fashions: though after the Georgian era (at least the 1700s part of it), it would make sense for Mrs. Musgrove to wear Georgian fashions in this version of Persuasion because she is an old character. I also noticed a parallel between Henrietta and Louisa Musgrove's red cloaks to Kitty and Lydia Bennet's cloaks in Pride and Prejudice (1995). Both pairs of characters are flirtatious and in some ways similar, so it's kind of funny that they would have the same cloak.

Overall: 3.5/5
On the second viewing, I enjoyed this version of Persuasion a lot more. However, I still prefer the 2007 version. I did like that this version was closer to the book than the 2007 one in that the scenery and music isn't dark like the 2007 version. Though I have a preference to Persuasion 2007, this is still a worthy adaptation that is worth watching.

Persuasion is available on DVD. It is rated PG and runs for 107 minutes.


  1. Personally, this one was my favorite...
    the 2007 version is pretty good...I just didn't like the actors they cast as Anne and Captain Wentworth. I LOVE this story! Persuasion is probably my third favorite Jane Austen (next to Northanger Abbey and Emma...and Pride and Prejduice) haha okay, maybe third :D

    anyway, glad you got to see it again! I love it!

  2. Persuasion is not as brilliant, sparkling, and perfect as Pride and Prejudice, but it is more subtle. It is the most interior (by which I mean, so much of the action occurs in the thoughts and emotions of the main characters) of Austen's novels, and has most intensely emotional climax of any of her works. Yet the same heroine, Anne Elliot, who has "the power of loving, when all hope is gone" is also one of Austen's most self-controlled heroines.

    While Pride and Prejudice will always remain my personal favorite (I am biased; II fall for Lizzy's wit and spirit every time), Persuasion offers a different display of Austen's skills as a mature novelist, and my re-reading of it was greatly enriched by Shapard's annotations.

  3. I have to be honest, there isn't a version of "PERSUASION" that I would consider perfect. I find the 1971, 1995 and 2007 versions to be flawed. But I still love watching them.

    I suspect that "PERSUASION" is my favorite Austen tale, even if I don't think it was her best one.


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