Film of the book: ‘Persuasion’ (2007)

Part of the channel ITV’s ‘Jane Austen season’ in 2007, this adaptation of the author’s last novel was decent enough but unfortunately didn’t engage me. I’d hoped that it would give me a new appreciation of the book, which I struggled with a little last year. However, I need to accept that the story is my least favourite of Austen’s.

There are some excellent aspects to this film. Sally Hawkins is perfect as the reserved but kind-hearted Anne Elliot, oppressed by her family and not likely to marry at her advanced age of 27. The locations are wonderful, being (as far as I can tell) the real places from the book. Costumes and interiors, lovely. Anne’s lack of opportunity to express herself in the book is altered, in the form of a diary and more dialogue with friends.

I’m one of those shallow viewers who expects a broodingly romantic, dark-haired hero when it comes to Austen adaptations. I’ve been spoilt by Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Matthew Macfadyen and Alan Rickman. I’m afraid that sandy-haired, stony-faced Rupert Penry-Jones doesn’t do it for me. Moreover, I don’t feel that he and Sally Hawkins have much chemistry in this film. And that kiss at the end… just awkward.

The cinematography was a bit odd. It had an unfinished, documentary feel to it, with the camera wobbling, framing some unusual and informal shots. I’m not sure it suited this kind of film.

I’d only recommend this adaptation for fans of the original book. If you don’t like the book much, you probably won’t like the film.

9 thoughts on “Film of the book: ‘Persuasion’ (2007)”

    1. Thanks! Yes he didn’t really cut it for me, but then maybe other viewers liked him 🙂

  1. Well, I have to confess that I actually love this film!! I know it’s a bit over the top and maybe not quite what Jane Austen intended, but I just love the cast. I know that Rupert Penry-Jones is a bit stiff but Sally Hawkins (who cries a lot), and the amazing Alice Krige, and Anthony Head, are just wonderful. I do agree that if you don’t know the book then the film might be a bit confusing. Maybe I’m the one person who really liked the film….

    1. Well, I’m glad you love it 🙂 I do like Sally Hawkins. I suppose the filming style of it is not quite what I’ve been used to with Austen adaptations. I’m sure there are many other fans of this one, it helps if you’re a fan of the book too 😉 Thanks for sharing your opinion!

  2. Off topic (except in the way of film adaptations) but I just saw Hitchcock’s Rebecca and learned that a new adaptation of that classic book is coming out (with a Maxim who is much too young). And here’s where I sheepishly admit I still haven’t read the book! And this never happens to me, really. I always read the book first. Another for the TBR. (At least I don’t have to worry about Persuasion.)

    1. No topic is off topic on this blog 😀 Yes it should be interesting to see a new Rebecca, which surely won’t be as atmospheric or creepy as Hitchcock’s but maybe the ending will be more faithful to the book. If they stick quite closely to the book, then you won’t have to worry about not reading it!

      1. Ha–right! (Though, really, with my name being Rebecca, people reference the novel–well, that and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm–and so I really should read it!)

  3. I enjoyed this movie (maybe because I love the original book), but I confess it is possibly my least favorite adaptation of Persuasion. The one from 1995 is my favorite, starring Amanda Root as Anne. But this 2007 adaptation does feel like it doesn’t explore the deeper topics of the book, which I would have preferred, and Wentworth is a bit too stiff in it.

    1. This is the only adaptation I’ve seen (that I remember, anyway!) so I don’t have any others to compare. Not loving the book also made it harder to enjoy this adaptation. I feel that Wentworth should have been more likeable, Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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