Period piece fans, unite! Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” is coming to none other than the streaming giant Netflix. While Victorian-era lovers have already committed all the other Austen movies to memory – ”Pride and Prejudice” has a number of equally-sulky adaptations of Mr. Darcy; “Emma” has been played by Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale and Anya Taylor-Joy, plus Alicia Silverstone, if we’re counting “Clueless”; and the “Sense and Sensibility” cast is just outrageously good – there’s always room for one more!
“Persuasion” has also been done a number of times, but the best-known version is the 2007 TV film starring Sally Hawkins. The story follows 27-year-old (ancient, in Austen years) Anne Elliot, whose family rents out their home to an Admiral and his wife as a way to pay their debts. The sticky love interest, since there always is one? The Admiral’s brother-in-law, Captain Frederick Wentworth, aka Anne’s ex-fiancé. The two meet again after Anne was persuaded to end their engagement seven years prior – will they or won’t they?!
Austen’s works often include some light humor undertones, and “Persuasion” is no different, which is the angle that this year’s Netflix adaptation seems to be honing in on. In director Carrie Cracknell’s “Persuasion,” Anne (Dakota Johnson, whose bangs should be a character in and of themselves) is quirky, clumsy and not shy with her words – something that’s not sitting well with some period piece fans.
Nevertheless, you must get your Austen education so you can form your own opinion about the state of 2022’s “Persuasion.” There are only a handful of celebrated works you must read, so don’t fret, but do take your time – Austen English can be a tough code to crack.