Persuasion Movie Review
Pay close attention: the story follows Anne Elliot (Amanda Root), a prim and proper 27-year old in 1814 England. Having once turned down a proposal from Frederick Wentworth (Ciaran Hinds), he has turned back up to try again. Also in the picture are Anne's younger sister Mary (Sophie Thompson), her husband (Simon Russell Beale), and his sisters (Emma Roberts and Victoria Hamilton), both of whom Wentworth chases after. Not to mention Anne's cousin William (Samuel West), who also chases after Anne in the hopes of getting his fingers on her father's estate. The story is based on the Jane Austen novel, and as you hopefully can tell by this rousing description, it's about as exciting as...a Jane Austen novel.
To keep track of these totally bland and uninteresting blokes, the producers were kind enough to throw in a handy genealogical chart to help keep track of no fewer than 15 major characters. Unfortunately, you won't get one of these with your ticket, so you'll likely be staring up at the screen in total confusion. Even more unhelpful is the costuming, of which two basic varieties are used: male and female. And I've never seen so much brown in my life.
Some fun costumes might have helped ease the pain of sitting through Persuasion, considering that all these dull people do is talk and eat. Amanda Root is being trumpeted by the producers as the next Emma Thompson. I don't think so, seeing how she spends the entire film just gawking at things like a wide-eyed Chihuahua and then whining about them. Oh, and don't expect any grandiose Merchant-Ivory style landscapes or ballrooms. Instead, to break up the monotony of the cramped sitting room settings, director Roger Michell opted for totally inappropriate MTV-style moving camerawork to capture the sheer nothing that is going on.
I hope this is enough to dissuade you from bothering with Persuasion. And I hope I'm not spoiling anything here, by giving away the movie's final line of dialogue: "Anne? Why would you want to marry Anne?" I'm still working on the answer to that one.