Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Persuasion on Masterpiece

Captain's Log, Stardate 01.16.2008

(The winner of the rat mug is Carol (mittens)! Congratulations!)

I Tivo'd Jane Austen's Persuasion presented on Masterpiece and finally got a chance to see it last night.

Maybe because I've read the book so many times and love it so much, maybe because I'm a bit of a Jane Austen purist, I was disappointed. While I liked the actors in general--and I liked the actors who played Anne and Frederick very much--I disliked the writing quite a bit (the parts not taken directly from Jane Austen). I didn't like the inconsistencies with the novel.

There were a few inconsistencies in the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility, but I loved them because they seemed to add to the story without deviating much from the novel.

For this version of Persuasion, I didn't like the changes and thought they deviated too much--the inconsistencies changed the characters themselves.

Charles Musgrove is suddenly as unpleasant as his wife. Walter Elliot is suddenly not as silly and stupid as he was in the novel--instead, he's mean and snobby. Mrs. Clay is attractive rather than plain, so Sir Elliot doesn't dislike her in the movie as he did in the novel, which makes the watcher wonder why Elizabeth doesn't worry about the possibility of a relationship. Elizabeth suddenly notices Mr. Elliot's pursuit of Anne and rants about it. Lady Russell is shown as less self-assured, more insecure, and possibly devious--something she never was in the novel. Mrs. Smith is suddenly not an invalid and runs with Anne for a block down Camden Place (and how could Anne get away with running in a public place like that?).

I liked the 1995 version of Persuasion, although the characters were a bit older than described in the book. The writing conveyed the story faithfully and cleverly, and the few deviations didn't jolt me out of the movie like the 2008 version.

I wanted to like this newer version--I was so excited about it. And while I really liked the actors in general, the writing disappointed me too much.

Should I not be such a Jane Austen purist? I'm wondering if I'm being too harsh. This is my favorite Austen novel, and I've read it so many times I almost know it by heart. I know which lines from the movie were taken from the book, and which weren't. Okay, I admit, that's kind of scary.

10 comments :

  1. I wouldn't say that's scary. I'm the same way with Pride and Prejudice. One of my favorite things about the mini-series version of P&P is that I recognize so many of the lines from the book.

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  2. I totally agree with you! Persuasion is also one of my favorite books but I was dissappointed in this version of it.
    Although it has it's good points, it's still not as good as I thought it would be. :(

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  3. Oh, Camy--you were so much nicer in your review of it than I was! I really wanted to like this one--maybe not as much as the 1995 version, which is my favorite JA novel on film, but at lest like it. And I couldn't. I even like the 2005 Keira Knightley version of P&P better than this new version of Persuasion (which is also my favorte JA novel).

    Oh well. I have high hopes for the new versions of Northanger Abby, Mansfield Park, and Sense & Sensibility.

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  4. well since i never have watched any other version of persuasion (and i am ashamed to admit i haven't even read the book) i liked it...

    and Rupert Penry-jones was a hunk!

    i am looking forward to the rest of the other Austen adaptations Masterpiece will be doing in the next few weeks.

    oh and off topic: today i received from zondervan a brochure about your books. unfortunately USPS nearly shredded it through the mailing process so i received in pieces in one of their "we're sorry, it happens" enevelopes. from what i've been able to put together, it looks good!

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  5. I was a little disappointed in this version also. I can't wait for next week though :)

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  6. Hey, Persuasion is my favorite too! I was disappointed that I missed this the other night... but after reading your post, I'm glad I did!

    And why shouldn't you be a Jane Austen purist???

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  7. I'm an Austen purist too. These books are serious treasures of English literature, and there is something sacred about them. So don't ever apologize for that.

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  8. You are definitely not too much of a JA purist! Is there such a thing? ;) I couldn't handle the newest version of Pride and Prejudice, cause I kept saying "that would never have happened".

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  9. I too was disappointed with the movie, although I agree with you that I liked the main actors. Lady Russell wasn't protrayed as such a friend that she should have had so much influence on Anne's life. And I was fine with the movie until Anne started running through the streets - with her head uncovered, nonetheless! The deviations from the book were too numerous to count, disappointing me as well.

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  10. Did you watch Northanger Abbey Sunday night? LOVED that one. While I liked this Persuasion, I thought the new NA was a much better made film overall. However, as I told Kaye (grin), I have decided that I must not be a literary "purist" AT ALL. Which is weird, now that I think about it. I enjoyed it, especially in comparison to the '95 version, because that is one Austen film I can't stand...I think it's terribly boring. :P

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