Friday, November 30, 2012

Review of 1995 Persuasion by Trevor Contreras

Persuasion. Director Roger Mitchell.  Featuring Amanda Root (Anne Elliot) and Ciaran Hinds (Captain Frederick Wentworth).
BBC FILMS. Millesime Productions, 1995.
3.25/4 stars
               Mitchell’s film Persuasion is a wonderful heartbeat of Austen’s novel. Anne is a pivotal character in which the film weaves in and out a society of characters that is sometimes flamboyantly irritating, and other times darkly revealing, but always entertaining. The story begins with Anne and her family in Kellynch Hall. Her narcissistic father and sister show perfect reason why Anne’s current situation is not so fortunate, disregarding everyone but themselves. Sir Walter and Elizabeth Elliot basically ignore poor Anne. Adding to the dismal list is Anne’s sister Mary, whom is married to Charles Musgrove; Mary is a helpless mother that depends on her elder sister to do everything for her. The fact that Anne is the oddball out is really emphasized in these opening scenes.  
      However, Anne’s face lights up soon enough. Anne, who was at one time persuaded (thanks to Lady Russell) against Captain Frederick Wentworth, is now confronted with a reunion of her once adored love; only now she has a new situation of age, family, realization, and wealth. A wonderful performance by Amanda Root shows the overloaded Anne in a world that is suffocating. Anne is tossed around in a world of pressure from class and social demands. The young woman is faced against the enemy of influence and entrapment.  Anne is poised against a world of oppression and dictation. Her adventure is finding something true in love.
I found this movie to be a fair depiction, both aesthetically and structurally, of an Austen world. The detail of Kellynch Hall, the beautiful scenery of Lyme, and the distinct personalities of characters are all minute details I appreciated in this movie. The cast is a strong representation of the book. I felt that Amanda Root plays the perfect Anne! Aged with wisdom and beautifully portrayed as an unflashy, witty woman, Root delivers a perfect performance of a protagonist the viewer can really sympathize with. Her co-actors are brilliant as well; I found myself absolutely disgusted with Corin Redgrave and Phoebe Nicholls performance of Sir Walter and Elizabeth Elliot. They made a unique duo that carried the Austen satire to a suitable level.
This Movie has many Austen elements layered within. I especially enjoyed the scene where Charles, Mrs. Musgrove, and Mary are all giving their perspective of how the children should be raised. This witty scene reminded me of the quick comedic relief that Austen never fails to include in her novels. Another scene the remained ridiculously true to the novel is the scene where Louisa lunges off the steps in Lyme. What a ditz! I especially enjoyed the similarities of over the top characters from book to film and felt it was much more entertaining in the film! These types of scenes gave me a sincere Austen vibe when viewing.
I found the subject of class and satire to be two very strong elements the filmmakers successfully adapted in this film. It is no wonder this film is still a successful theme in 1995 because the idea of wealth and the sometimes unique characters that come with it is a very real theme audiences today still connect with. It is nice to see an underdog female, with her wit and unflashy ways, win over a love that everyone around her tries their best to break up and prohibit.

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