Persuasion (2022) review: Divisive adaptation with some redeeming qualities

Persuasion is a Netflix romantic film that revolves around Anne Elliot and her quest for a love that is lost and then found again. The movie is an adaptation of a Jane Austen novel of the same name.

Story

Anne Elliot belongs to a family that is obsessed with status and high nobility but she’s the only one who does not care much for societal norms. She had once fallen in love with a sailor but she was persuaded to give up her pursuit as he wasn’t a man of high standing.

When the sailor, Frederick Wentworth, re-enters her life in much better circumstances 8 years later, Anne is left to deal with her unresolved feelings for him and try to keep herself together.

Anne’s sister-in-law, Louisa, also falls in love with Frederick and this makes things slightly complicated between Anne and Frederick. While the two of them clearly have feelings for her, circumstances make it difficult for them to truly act upon them.

The arrival of William muddles things up even further but ultimately the truth comes out and love wins as Anne and Frederick get together once eventually.

Performances

Dakota Johnson is the anchor of the film, turning in a very good performance. Her sassy portrayal of Anne Elliot is a lot of fun to watch and makes the character quite enjoyable.

Cosmo Jarvis is decent as Frederick but placed across the charms of Anne, his performance does come off as slightly stiff and wooden in comparison.

Richard E. Grant, Mia McKenna-Bruce and Yolanda Kettle are great as Anne’s family, all so caught up in themselves that they barely notice or care for others.

Henry Golding’s role is fleeting but he does come across as quite charming with what little material he’s given.

Positives

The constant breaking of the fourth wall is a trope that isn’t pleasing to the purists but it works well here, keeping the audience engaged while providing Dakota Johnson with the perfect stage to strut on.

The locations in Persuasion are quite magnificent. The film has done a great job of capturing the beauty of England while staying true to the era of its setting.

There is a melodious and playful background score that neatly lays the groundwork for any given scene. It’s one of the shining lights of this film and credit is due to the composers behind it.

Negatives

While this is an adaptation of a novel by a distinguished author, the film has been made in a very algorithmic style meant to get the most views which means sacrificing the overall quality.

The director and writers have taken a formulaic approach that simplifies the message that the story was supposed to get across to the viewers.

Verdict

Persuasion is a romantic film that will please a wide audience but placing it side by side with the source material does not paint a very pretty picture. It’s a basic story of love that can be enjoyed in one sitting before being forgotten about in the next instant.

Rating: 2.5/5


Also Read: Persuasion (2022) ending explained: Does Anne Elliot end up with Frederick?