Friday, April 30, 2010


As a reward to myself for good behavior, I let myself fold laundry while watching the 2007 BBC production of Jane Austen's Persuasion. When I was a mere 24, Marybeth told me it was Austen's best work. I vehemently denied it, but as I have approached, and passed, Anne Elliot's kiss-of-death age of 27, I appreciate this novel with increasing respect.

There is something so appreciable (is that a word?) about Anne's triumph over the flighty and flirty Louisa Musgrove. In a modern adaptation of Persuasion, I would cast The Musgrove girls as sorority girls with implants and iphones, with lots of texting going on at all times. My experience with sorority girls has been that they are (surprisingly) conversant one on one, but the herd mentality takes over quickly, and they are unbearable in a group. Thus I imagine Louisa, slightly tipsy in a tight t-shirt, tripping on her flip-flop as she catapults off the treacherous sea walk at Lyme. Love it. I may be onto something....

Ahem. The movie.

Let me freely admit that though I love Austen, 18th and 19th century women's literature , and BBC adaptions of "classics" (or any adaptaions, for that matter), I can NEVER tell when watching an adaptation whether or not I have seen it before. It must be like watching movies when you have alzheimer's. Are there only 4 manor houses and 7 costumes available in England? Why do they all look exactly the same???????? So while watching this, I was mostly positive that I had never seen it before. But he end I was pretty sure, but it is always touch and go.

Anne Elliot looked horrendous. Greasy hair, clothes that don't fit, pasty skin, she hardly looked alive, much less like a heroine. I know she is supposed to be old- practically dead and shrivelded up from her virgininty, but she it is certainly overkill to make her look like she has tuberculosis. Plus, all the running? really? Completely undidginified. Also, frankly, she looked unloveable. If I were Capt. Wentworth, I would have married the sorority girl. At least she smiled. Anne spent most of her time with her mouth either hanging open or pressed intoa tight-Charlotte-Bartlett smile.

Capt. Wentworth? Gorgeous. So beautiful, he won me over as the film went on.

The movie did not strictly follow the plot of the novel, and that is a pity. Where Austen's plot was delicate, and the climax was intricate and involved and everything was wrapped up nicely, the movie, quite literally, rushed right through the climax. Anne was running around Bath, which is a choice that I understand, but do not respect.

Too tired for more- film criticism is not my forte.


kimberlina said...

she DID look unlovable, no? i hated looking at her. she always looked so... docile. so stupid. so vacant. i just couldn't sense any connection between she and the captain. which i suppose is the point. but still.

i think i watched part of this movie in fast forward.

mb. said...

I said it was the best? Well, it IS my favorite, so I guess that means it is the best. & I have certainly not seen an adaptation where Persuasion meets the Running Man.

Do you remember the second part of that conversation: that The Edge of Reason is to Persuasion what Bridget Jones is to P&P?