The reviews for “Persuasion” haven’t been kind, and it’s understandable they aren’t. The film, which features an exceptional cast including Dakota Johnson, Richard E Grant, Henry Golding, Nikki Amuka-Bird and Cosmo Jarvis, was buried by almost all media outlets.
The jokes range from hyperbole “everyone involved should be in jail” (The Spectator) to “awful” (The LA Times). Almost all of these reviews cite the Fleabag-ification of Austen’s posthumously published work as one of the film’s biggest flaws.
It’s true that Johnson’s constant wink at the camera doesn’t invite you into his psychology because there’s no psychology in these characters. Instead, it’s like someone took a ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Instagram filter and flattened it on the surprisingly modern cast (one tweet went viral when the ‘Persuasion’ trailer dropped aptly stated, “Dakota Johnson has the face of someone who knows what an iPhone is”).
Because the characters lack depth, breaking the fourth wall is a cheap trick to appeal to a generation of (probably) women who discovered “Fleabag” and felt seen, felt their inner turmoil had a weight real. But unfortunately, ‘Persuasion’ is full of paper dolls.
However, the most glaring error in this author’s adaptation of the film is the way she seeks to modernize themes that, in reality, only seem dated. It’s hard to imagine, for most of us, that our parents talk us out of marrying a man because he isn’t “distinguished” enough.
However, it is not difficult to imagine a world in which inherited privilege, generational wealth, race and variety of other intersections of social, economic and political identity influence the choice of a partner. Netflix’s need to stick to the “Regency” aesthetic attire means it can’t escape the dated boundaries of themes that could easily carry over into modern times.
In the introduction to a 1998 edition of the novel, literary scholar Gillian Beer explains that “Persuasion” was a novel that sought to explore the various ways, both overt and covert, in which society pressured women. for them to perform certain duties, especially marriage. . The outcome may have changed since the 19th century, when Austen first wrote “Persuasion,” but the pressures haven’t.
Women (including trans women) still have a weight of expectation that is impossible for them to bear. To be a career woman, to be a mother, to be mature, to be reserved, to be devoted, to be a boss: it is painful for any woman to be fair, to make her own decisions while navigating the world.
In some countries, this option is removed: the cancellation of “Roe vs. Wade” continues to impact all facets of a woman’s life, not just the option of having an abortion. From chemotherapy to interstate travel, the world is shrinking at a drastic pace for women.
But none of that suffocating fear, a palpable sensation even as I write, is felt in ‘Persuasion’. Instead, “Persuasion” leaves you feeling nothing more than the kind of nagging indigestion that comes from knowing something much better could have been done.
In this way, “Fire Island,” available on Disney+ Spain, is a far more successful, engrossing, and deeply moving modern Austen story. It transplants themes of otherness and cultural restrictions from the rigidity of the Regency era to the contemporary homophobia that pervades the culture (despite what brands say otherwise during Pride Month) and a beautiful film s flourishes.
Al negarse a renunciar al simbolismo fácil de los corsés y la pompa, ‘Persuasion’ sofoca sus temas resonantes y la película se marche y muere antes de que la primera escena (afortunadamente) llegue a su fin, solo para que recuerdes que aún quedan dos Hours.
In ‘Persuasion’, Austen writes: “When the pain passes, its memory often turns into pleasure.” Unfortunately, the Netflix adaptation makes this quote wrong.
“Persuasion” is now available on Netflix.
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