Jane Austen Adapted: Persuading Myself to like this ‘Persuasion’…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz7HmgPJQak

The trailer was a travesty – many people I know said that alone convinced them to not watch this new Persuasion, now streaming on Netflix since last Friday. There have been so many negative reviews, one can only lament all the money spent, all the talent squandered, and settle for visions of Dear Jane doing the proverbial role in her grave…

BUT, I say, give it a chance, watch it with an open mind, pretend you are an Austen newbie and look at it all with not-so-knowledgeable eyes – can you do this and find some redeeming moments that somehow harken to the original story??

I didn’t read any of the reviews before viewing it the other day [on my computer I confess because I am on the road with no Netflix on a bigger screen – though I don’t think the smaller screen affected my liking / disliking the movie…] – I didn’t want to be swayed, though the headlines alone were enough to know how the wind blows – it is FASHIONABLE now to dislike this movie, and so it goes, one after the other of people weighing in on this great mess.

Bottom line is that I neither loved nor hated it, but I fall somewhere in-between, finding that spending a bit of time with Jane Austen, despite the various missteps, is always a fine way to while away an afternoon…

I shall make a list of the pros [a few] and cons [a lot], the best way to approach this rather than a full-on review, because I think most of us will say the exact same thing. I should start by saying that Persuasion has long been my favorite Austen novel – I love the story, the romance of second chances with the pain of Anne suffering through eight years of longing and regret with the subtle hints that Wentworth has suffered likewise. I love Austen’s usual satirical eye on class distinctions, and those not willing to see a changing world of honor and merit. And Austen’s ever-present humor – are there any better characters than Sir Walter Elliot and Mary Musgrove and Austen’s take on the ridiculous snobbery of the lot of them?

A few friends have already shared their very strong feelings about this film – I am reminded of the horror that first accompanied the 2005 Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen – PIGS in the kitchen! Mr. Darcy has a mullet [and chest hair!]! Elizabeth Bennet looks too much like Keira Knightley! [i.e. too modern for the early 19th century] – it went on and on…and so we are here once again with complaints that THIS MOVIE IS NOT THE BOOK! But one friend, who is not an Austenhead, found the movie “quite enjoyable,” despite Capt. Wentworth “a little sappy” [can anything work if Wentworth is “sappy”??] – so it comes down to what you know – have you read the book? Have you seen the 1995 film with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds [in my view the most perfect of all the Austen film adaptations]? Do you know your Austen backwards and forwards and can quote her willy-nilly in appropriate conversations? [my favorite: “Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition.” (S&S).] Do you get / appreciate the narrative voice that brings that ironic humor to all her writings? And on it goes…

PERSUASION, Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds ‘PERSUASION’ FILM – 1995

Any adaptation is just one person’s vision of their Jane Austen [well, along with producers, screenwriters, directors, actors, etc.!]– there will never be one size that fits all. Your Captain Wentworth will not be MY Captain Wentworth. But, I’m a firm believer in any Austen film that brings people to the books, and if this 21st century version of Persuasion can do that for a whole new generation, then kudos all around. These new readers will be pleasantly surprised how deep and meaningful the novel is in comparison [or they’ll throw it across the room in disgust at the long wordy sentences and lack of any kissing…]

So, onto my lists: [SPOILERS ABOUND!!]

The PROS:

1. The Narrator: the use of a voiceover or Dakota Johnson speaking directly to the viewer serves to bring Austen’s all-important narrative voice into the tale. So much in the book cannot be conveyed via dialogue, and I understand the screenwriter using this device to solve the problem [the major Con is that too often Anne is saying / doing things that are not in the text at all, and not Anne-like in the least – more on this in the CONS] – but I like this aspect of being able to get inside Anne’s head – this is her story after all…past, present, and future.

2. The Settings: magnificent as expected, Kellynch Hall just lovely, landscape scenery perfection [Sir Walter’s concerns about his “shrubberies” are valid!]; Lyme Regis and Bath locations [not enough of Bath in my view] serve the story well…and I would like to visit the Harville house, the Elliot home in Bath, and the Bath shop once again… [you can view the various locations here: https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/netflix-persuasion-filming-locations-37107090 ]

3. The Fashions: I liked the simplicity of all, especially Anne’s – a complete 180 from the over-the-top costumes on the 2020 Emma. These understated fashions seemed more realistic but likely not as engaging for all the Austen fashionistas out there. 

4. The Dialogue: this is mostly a CON as you will see, but I must give applause to those very few lines that were taken directly from the novel [what a novel idea!]

5. The Casting: I applaud the casting without any complaint. Dakota Johnson, seemingly in EVERY scene, is so lovely to look at [more on her HAIR below, a giant quibble];  I liked Cosmos Jarvis as Wentworth [despite my friend’s “sappy” comment], though will say he didn’t seem distant or angry enough; Henry Golding gets high praise for his William Elliot, just not caddish enough in my book; the color-blind casting worked perfectly – thank goodness this is a barrier well-hurdled in many recent productions [Bridgerton for one; Mr. Malcolm’s List as another (not yet seen – I have read the book and hope to not be disappointed!)] – and high praise for Mrs. Russell and Louisa [absolutely lovely!]. Richard E. Grant was perfectly and vainly odious as Sir Walter – I wish he had had more screen time…

Persuasion. (L to R) Lydia Rose Bewley as Penelope Clay, Richard E. Grant as Sir Walter Elliot, Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot, Yolanda Kettle as Elizabeth Elliot in Persuasion. Cr. Nick Wall/Netflix © 2022

6. Some of the scenes:

– Wentworth taking the boys off Anne in the woods [in the parlor in the book, but I won’t quibble] – the point is Wentworth was around and saw Anne in distress and acted.

– the Crofts and their carriage: Wentworth asking for them to take up Anne – a lovely scene, again showing that he is paying attention to Anne – but  he doesn’t HELP her into the carriage and he should have!

6. The Soundtrack: The final song by Birdy is terrific [though very popular culture like Johnny Flynn and his “Queen Bee” in the recent Emma] – conveys the story better than the whole movie really – and the rest by Stuart Earl is engaging enough – you can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BvDswoUAtk [I include the lyrics to the Birdy song below]

CONS: [hold on to your hats…]

1. The Language: ok, unless I missed something, this is a movie of the Jane Austen novel Persuasion. I think I counted no more than 10 direct lines from the novel, so much else made up that I thought we were watching some dime-store novel of historical fiction whose author didn’t do their homework and is stuck in 2022 after all – a few examples of many:

– the endless rating of both men and women on the 1-10 scale – really?? I thought that came into being with Dudley Moore’s “10” in 1979.  Mrs. Clay, “a 5 in London, a 10 in Bath” [obviously William Elliot certainly thought so]

– Mary Musgrove, down and out with a “bug” deems herself an “empath” – good lord, what can be said, though I did laugh out loud…she was a great whiner, as she is on the page, but I just wanted to slap her…[well, I want to slap Mary in the book too…]

– Anne’s constant talking, to herself, to the wall, to her ever-present rabbit [a rabbit???], to the viewer: I realize the writers wanted to convey Anne’s inner thoughts, her sufferings, her regrets, to give us an Anne who tells it all, like she is in some endless therapy session that just lets her natter on and on – but where is the Anne on the page who suffers in silence, who gradually develops an inner strength and confidence that in the end enables her to speak out loud and clear in the only way she can, to an overhearing Capt. Wentworth… sometimes I just wanted her to shut up… [caveat: there were a few times that I thought the script did a fine job of conveying Anne’s inner life, “her quiet dignity” as she calls it, holding it together in her bathtub…]

– the use of clichés: “abandon all hope”; “hope springs eternal”… the list is endless; Mary as “shockingly self-aware” (says Anne)

– Wentworth telling Anne: “You’d make a great Admiral” – such a ridiculous comment, I have no comment…

– the whole “exes” and “friends” thing – way too modern chat

-Anne summing up William Elliot: 1. ‘He must have an angle” [when did that come into general use??]; 2. “He’s a 10” – a running gag that gets old…

2. The Conversations and Scenes: ok, here is where the movie lost me – there were far too many extreme divergences from the original text [I think it’s a book called Persuasion] – and I wonder who sits around at night and makes this stuff up:

– Anne blurting out at the dinner table that Charles wanted to marry her first… [now in the book, Wentworth learns this from Louisa with Anne overhearing – she is mortified that Wentworth would once again rail against her persuadability” – there is NO reason for Anne to share this with the dinner table – it was embarrassing for all [including the viewer]

– The octopus story: does this have a purpose?? “You’re beginning to grow on me”… I remain completely clueless.

– Louisa turning into a courtship instructor! – then snagging Wentworth for herself after a conversation with Anne – none of this is in the text, other than a subtle sense that Anne wants nothing to do with the captivating Captain…

– Anne and Wentworth meeting on the beach in Lyme for a conversation that is entirely made up – they stumble over words and end up becoming “friends,” both dissatisfied with being unable to express their true feelings – not only is it made up but it is much too early in the story to give this all away – and then Anne takes a dip in the sea, fully clothed no less, floating as she has done before in the bathtub – this is so un-19th-century!

– Mr. and Mrs. Croft are barely in the film – which is too bad, as their presence gives us much to understand about life in the Royal Navy AND what a good marriage looks like [not all that common in Austen!] – the conversation at the dinner table where Sophie tells of sailing with her husband and hating being left behind on land has been relegated to a quick conversation while walking – and too much is missed about the developing friendship between Anne and the Crofts.

3. The Characters; or how adding in some modern-day angst behaviors gives not-to-be-missed clues into each character [like the viewer cannot figure some of this out themselves?]:

– Lady Russell’s sexual adventures on the Continent?? How exciting for Lady R, but I doubt she would actually allude to this with Anne. And Lady R, who early on in the film says she was wrong to persuade Anne to give up the then Lieutenant Wentworth, never really sees that truth in the book – she continues to direct Anne to a better match.

– Anne peeing on a tree – certainly a nod to the Emma of 2020 warming her butt at the fire – but necessary??

– Anne in an almost constant state of intoxication, a wine-bottle always at hand; not to mention the bottle falling on her head – Anne-the-Klutz seems the order of the day: jam on her face just another example [though she is certainly more fun for those Musgrove boys than the sour Mary…]; slurping her drinks at the Dalrymple’s [and then that octopus story]…

– – Where oh where are the senior Musgroves?? I can barely recall their presence, they too important to the tale with their humor, over-the-top household…I miss them.

Joan Hassall, Persuasion, Folio Society, 1975

– In Lyme, the infamous fall – they used different steps than the “Granny” steps – was there a reason for this?? [though various illustrators have used the other steps as well] – I was pleased to see this kept in the film and it actually follows the book!

– Where oh where is Mrs. Smith?? A necessary part of the plot to understand the true colors of William Elliot – here we have him KISSING Mrs. Clay in Bath’s broad daylight, for all to see, and quite content in his film-ending marriage – someone really sat up late to come up with this one… a reformed cad – VERY un-Austen-like [none of her rogues are redeemed, as anyone who has read her novels knows.]

Wentworth letter – Bowler Press

And then, The Letter – a quick conversation that Wentworth overhears, Anne having her last chance to tell him what she feels, and Wentworth leaving hastily written letter for Anne [or anyone else] to see – one is pleased to hear some of the letter verbatim [the best love letter in all of literature! – it deserves a reading!] – but then we have another Olympic Anne, running through the streets of Bath, frantically searching for her Captain – this a nod to the ridiculous Anne in the 2007 Persuasion, Sally Hawkins hysterical back-and-forth sprinting in search of her Captain – but I missed the quiet coming together of Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds in the crazed streets of Bath, their un-Austen-like Kiss rocking the Austen world as completely inappropriate, but delicious nonetheless…

So, final answer?

I think it all lies in Anne’s HAIR: did Ms. Johnson just flat-out refuse to be Regencified?? No way she would succumb to the tightly wound Curly-Cue Curls of Anya Taylor-Joy? Her straggly mess just another sign of her depressive state seemed out of place and time, contributing to the feeling that Anne was just observing the rest of her 19th-century world but not really a part of it at all – the point I guess from this film’s standpoint, giving us an Anne E perhaps, who hopefully will be understood and beloved by a new generation, but certainly not the Anne Elliot of the Persuasion I know and love.

[But I did like seeing Wentworth still in uniform and teaching Anne the intricacies of the sextant – a fine future for these two, eight years coming, and finally happily there…] – in the end, I am really just a sappy romantic and not a very good critic…

Your thoughts?? [I could have gone on and on but I’ve said enough – now your turn!]

************

The Lyrics to “Quietly Yours”

White sails and off shore lights
We were passing ships in the night
Now I’m tracing shadows on your back
Like I dreamt so many times

Oh for so long I’ve been waiting
For so long, for a love like this
And I was so sure baby
I’d lost you for a minute but

There’s the sweetest
Spring at my door
Can you feel it?
Just the same as before
Many years have gone by
But I knew you’d come

Quietly keeping
This hope in my heart
Prayed the night bring
Back what I lost
Many years have gone by
But I never forgot

I’ve always been yours
Only yours

There was a time when I lеt you go
Allowed myself to be swayеd and pulled
But for all my days I make a vow
No words could ever shake me now

‘Cause for so long I’ve been waiting
So long, for a love like this
And I was so sure baby
I’d lost you for a minute but

There’s the sweetest
Spring at my door
Can you feel it?
Just the same as before
Many years have gone by
But I knew you’d come

Quietly keeping
This hope in my heart
Prayed the night bring
Back what I lost
Many years have gone by
But I never forgot

I’ve always been yours
Only yours
Quietly yours
Only yours
I’ve always been yours
Only yours (Yeah)
Quietly yours
Only yours (Yeah)

***********

c2022 Jane Austen in Vermont

20 thoughts on “Jane Austen Adapted: Persuading Myself to like this ‘Persuasion’…

  1. Deb, I think your review is intense and to the point. As you know, I gave up on the new Persuasion at 53 minutes in and then fast forwarded to the end. Thanks for the words to the song. I did enjoy that at the end. Love your coining a new word ‘Regencified’ referring to Dakota Johnson’s hair! I thought the rabbit was drugged or dead at some point. Although I appreciated the acting of all the cast and the attempt by the screenwriter to make the book more accessible to a modern audience, I don’t agree that this adaptation will bring in more Austenites. I did enjoy your review! Appreciatively, Margarer

    >

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    • Thanks for visiting Margaret – I appreciate your thoughts, especially about the possibly dead rabbit! I do hope you can manage to watch the rest of the movie at some point – now you know the worst of it you can focus on the good things! [and then go back once again to the 1995 film!]

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  2. Ha! Brilliant as Margaret Sullivan’s review (she was also in the middle)! I really should read no more about the film. Good grief the amount of digital trees spent on this. Oddly (as I usually am!), I watched it over a Zoom call w my partner. She was visiting her parents in Louisiana on the 15th(she’s currently in England at a conference). She is not a Janeite and found it quite funny. So, that calmed my inner John Knightley at certain cringey moments. And I didn’t understand one cringey moment you mentioned…so going w my thought at the time that she was just hiding. :) So, a meh from me as well. My rating of Emma 22 I’ll,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh, unable to correct some of the mistakes above. Was going to finish w that Emma 2020 rating went down w the two rewatches. Maybe I ought not rewatch this Persuasion… unless my partner is also rewatching! My first yr only co-AiB adm recently went to Champlain College for a conference. Alas, she didn’t post any photos. JASNA Eastern Washington’s Flat Jane Austen and I are thinking about going up to Burlington in late summer or early fall.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I just finally read Maggie’s review and see we are indeed in line with each other – I didn’t want to read any before hand to influence my thoughts – I took notes but could barely read them after! Love that you watched this via a zoom call! Your inner John Knightley is usually spot-on so I would stick with the “meh” like Maggie – I will likely re-watch it when I can see it on a bigger screen – a re-watch might make me teeter toward a stronger + or – / let me know if you feel differently after a 2nd viewing… thank Kirk for visiting!

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  3. Great review, Deb! I watched Persuasion 2022 with mixed feelings too – enjoyable enough in itself, but not really Persuasion as we know it. Maybe they should have transported it completely into the 21st century instead of leaving it in a sort of anachronistic limbo?

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    • Well, hello Juliet! I couldn’t help but think that your very own “Persuade Me” was better than this movie – it’s been a long time since I read it, but the story of ‘Persuasion’ works very well in the 21st century, as you have so proved – why not make a movie of YOUR book?!

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  4. Great review, Deb – thank you! I watched Persuasion 2022 with mixed feelings too – enjoyable enough in itself, but not really Persuasion as we know it. Maybe they should have transported it completely into the 21st century, instead of leaving it in a sort of anachronistic limbo …

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  5. Deb, I admire your valiant effort (and Maggie’s, too) to be even-handed in reviewing this Persuasion–but, sorry, nope. Nope, nope, nope. I’ve got enough angst and grief in my life now without trying to make myself like this abomination. In any case, I don’t have Netflix and don’t intend to get it. Money’s tight.

    And I must go further and say that I’m tired of the argument in favor of these wretched films that “Oh, they’ll bring new readers to the books!” In my experience, they’ve done nothing of the sort. These viewers come to the books, are disappointed that they don’t find their favorite movie scenes (the wet shirt, etc., etc.), and drop the books.

    OK, end of rant, All the best to you, your family, and the Green Mountain Janeites.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I know, I know, I know, on your nope, nope, nope – I agree and almost hate saying it all out loud, but I do live in hope that these adaptations bring new blood into the Jane Austen fold with new views, new insights and hopefully new readers too. It seems you have only watched the trailer and read a few reviews – do hope that despite your assumption you will absolutely hate it, you could be pleasantly surprised, or at least find some enjoyment in a scene or tow – and the casting is perfect – it’s just some of the things that come out of their mouths that makes one cringe!

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  6. I just watched the movie last night! And was thinking of sending you an email when I saw the blog post. I have mixed feelings about the movie. It’s gimmicky and too cute for its own good in many instances. And I didn’t like the introduction of modern phrases into the script; far too little of the original language, for sure. I also deplore some of the “vulgar” additions (Anne and the tree; Anne daytime drinking). All that said, overall, I enjoyed seeing another interpretation of Austen. Why not! I agree that casting was excellent. I thought there were a number of entertaining moments and touching scenes. I thought the scene in which Anne is running to Frederick and throws himself into his arms, was one of the most romantic I’ve ever viewed. There’s a shot of Frederick’s face, held against Anne in their embrace, in which his deep love and happiness is so exquisitely portrayed, I puddled up. My verdict: Not perfect but worth watching.

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    • So excellently said Carol! You hit all the salient points and much fewer words than I did! And I am happy to know you are as much a hopeless romantic as I am! – I so agree about the end with Anne and Wentworth in each others arms, especially the look on Wentworth’s face. I don’t know if you have seen the 1995 film but please do as soon as you can; then there is the really mistaken attempt in 2007 with the die-for Rupert Penry-Jones and Sally Hawkins – similar in that they made changes that made no sense and one wants to throw the book at the screen – but here we are again in 2022 and so glad you enjoyed it, as I did too – I don’t find it worthwhile to get so bent-out-of-shape about things so totally out of one’s control…it is just a movie after all!

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  7. I really liked that song, too–thanks for the lyrics. The songwriter did a better job adapting Persuasion than the scriptwriters. The whole “second spring of youth and beauty” was entirely skipped–not unnaturally as Dakota Johnson is gorgeous throughout, but I missed it.

    I don’t know if it will bring a lot if people to the book, but I do want to be welcoming to those who do seek it out! And while I didn’t hate the movie as much as I thought I would, I won’t go out of my way to watch it again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maggie, thanks for commenting! I didn’t read your review or any others before I wrote mine to not be influenced – so I just read yours finally and see indeed we are of like-minds! In the end I know that am really just a hopeless romantic and so more accepting of the various missteps in this adaptation. Agree completely about the “second spring of youth and beauty” completely missing – seeing Amanda Root literally improve in looks over the course of the film with no makeup added to the mix was miraculous and such an important part of the book – seeing Anne gain in beauty, strength and confidence, somehow instinctively sure that Wentworth still cared – it’s a powerful story. I shall finally comment on your blog too…

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  8. They missed out Mrs Smith in this too!! Bloody hell.That stage version Marilyn and I went to in Kingston removed Mrs Smith from the story line too. I think there is more to Mrs Smith than just letting Anne and us lot, the reader, know how terrible Mr Elliot is. From a life lesson perspective she portrays the impoverished person who has integrity, wisdom and intelligence. She is anti pomposity and as such has such an important message in her humble life style for all of us. Not saying of course that any of us lot are pompous and stuck up our own derrieres , Deb, perish the thought. Yes, Mags Dakota Johnson is gorgeous. I feel stirrings just watching her. Or is that to do with Fifty Shades of Grey? Lets NOT go there. I will have to finish watching it now.
    A little off the point. I’ve just read The Siege of Loyalty House by Jessie Child’s. Its the story of Basing House on the edge of Basingstoke . A visceral English Civil War account. Yes, we had one too, before you lot. I wonder if just over a hundred years later, Jane and her family were still affected by the vicious goings on of the Civil war? Yes, I know off the point but still?

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    • Wow Tony – you are all over the place, from 50 shades to Civil Wars! Completely agree about the importance of Mrs. Smith and not only about William Elliot’s treatment of her but the fact that she suffers so much yet is this great positive force – she gets left out because even in the book it seems a plot line sort of tagged on as important social commentary – and one thing this movie had NOTHING of was social commentary!

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      • Come on now Deb. DakotaJohnson was the star of Fifty Shades. As for the Civil War connections. Merely just over a hundred years before the Austens were attending balls in Basingstoke, Basing House was the centre of a vicious siege by the Parliamentarians. Now stick with me on this one Deb. Sir Walter Elliot’s Baronetage would have been profoundly affected by the Civil War. The Elliot family to get their estate must have benefitted form the Civil war. Jane’s world was strill reverberating with echos of that conflict. I wonder if anybody has read Austen form the probably very subtle influnces of the Civil war? Thats all I was thinking Deb.

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      • Yes, I understood – it just cracked my up that you went from 50 Shades of Gray to the English Civil War in one breath! [I know that Johnson starred in 50 shades]. Agree about the ramifications of your own Civil War – does any era not suffer the consequences of what has gone before? and any time and author can be viewed from a point in history – and Austen must be read in that context as well…I am not disagreeing with you!

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  9. I try to maintain a high anachronism tolerance level for Austen-branded film adaptations, seeing the film as a series of problems to be solved when moving from book to film.

    Just a few impressions while watching, none of deep psychological import. These observations tend toward the pragmatic…

    Things I liked:

    Richard E. Grant. Because I love Richard E. Grant!

    I, too, am glad they left in the scene where Wentworth rescues Anne from little Walter Musgrove. Re-setting this scene in the woods with both boys beating Anne feels a bit “Lord of the Flies” but at least it is a rescue.

    Scenery and interiors are quite nice.

    Lady Russel’s golden pelisse – a modern design but gorgeous.

    Hair: they followed the 21st century Austen-film convention of using long, blowing hair to express 1) deep feeling, and 2) independence of mind/spirit, or 3) not wanting the expenses and challenge of bonnets especially since they shade the face

    Costumes: they have learned the concept of “stack-and-stitch”—cutting multiple gowns from the same pattern both as a way to save time and as a way to visually define a character. One might even say they were following an Austen-era process of using a “pattern gown” as described in Emma. Someone also learned, or decided to use, the technique of “turn modern garment x into Regency garment y.” Example, turn a blouse into a Regency Spencer. (Do that again, and again.) But it tickles me to see that the most ardent hat-wearer is Mary, though I’d have to go back and see how true that is. The other fun thing to do re: costumes is see what other films some of these costumes appeared in. (Have we seen Lady Russel’s golden pelisse elsewhere?) Overall? Their costume budget most have been woefully small.

    The winking: this seems to be part of the trend that I called “the sledgehammer” technique in the KK P&P. Something like “the audience won’t get the idea if we don’t hit them over the head with it.” One could probably write pages—well at least a paragraph—on the chicken in the Musgrove’s house as a reference to the pig in P&P. The challenge, then, is when and where to use the wink. (An oddity: Anne does the penultimate wink from the arms of Capt. W. but the editing seems to cut it short. That seemed odd until, a few seconds later, she did the “big wink.” I have a feeling the editor realized the two winks were too close and being used to make the same point. But I’d have to watch that again to see if that is a possibility.) Overall? modern film viewers aren’t stupid and can indeed catch the joke or appreciate the nuance. The winks were overkill.

    Breaking the 4th wall: does get a bit tedious but this is one of those “problems to solve” that I mentioned earlier—a (cheap? Easy?) way to get into Anne’s head. (By the way, Woody Allen broke the 4th wall in “Annie Hall” only at points where their relationship was getting rocky—a way to help the audience get through those difficult parts. I don’t see a pattern to Cracknell’s use of it beyond the “sledgehammer” but if anyone does it would be interesting to hear about it.)

    Some things seem to be added because they have become conventions. There is a sort of ad hoc vibe, without follow-through, with actions being drawn from other film adaptations. Anne running through Bath falls into that category. The goofy music (2020 Emma), peeing in the woods (Miss Austen Regrets).

    Who else found it jarring when Admiral Croft called her Anne on so little acquaintance?

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