Netflix’s ‘Persuasion’ Austen Adaptation Is Physically Awful to Watch

The new version of Netflix Persuasionwhich premiered on Friday, has already taken a lot of beatings for its use of anachronistic language. Why? Many other Jane Austen adaptations take the anachronistic route – see clueless Where fire island– and were critically acclaimed. But while this Persuasion mixes Regency-era dresses with 2020s style language (a la Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette), we are far from the joys of the soundtrack of Taylor Swift Bridgerton.

PersuasionThe anachronisms of , however, include the kind of phrases you’d find strewn across a wine mom’s Facebook wall or hear at a sorority pregame, where one of the girls can’t help herself. to whine about his ex. The Netflix Movie lost the fun of these modern Austen reimaginings by not being original enough. Still, the film somehow also strayed too away from Austen’s light to succeed.

“It’s often said that if you’re a ‘5’ in London, you’re a ’10’ in Bath,” a character says, in all sincerity, towards the beginning of the film. This joke is far too stale, even on the internet, where it has been permanently stolen, to be written into a script right next to some of Austen’s finest lines about grief and loss.

Advocates denounced the “Austen Police,” who allegedly put down any adaptations of her books that aren’t as grandiose as the original novels. But even I, someone who has only read a passage from the acclaimed author but watched the wildly popular films based on his work, felt Persuasion was a shame. If young people discover Austen through Persuasion, good. Hopefully, though, that won’t remain their favorite version of the story for very long.

In addition to gonzo anachronisms – including phrases “he’s just not interested in you” and Flea bag prints—Dakota “The face of someone who knows what an iPhone is” Johnson is an uncharismatic Anne Elliot, and her two suitors (Cosmo Jarvis as Captain Wentworth and Henry Golding as Mr. Elliot) have so little tension with her that I wish they’d cast contestants instead. horny reality shows. Not really. Yet: There were better actors to play these roles. (Sarah Snook, Joel Fry—I’ll avenge you.)

The dialogues are bad, but the whole movie is too. So, like any sarcastic Jane Austen heroine, I felt it was my duty to round up Netflix’s worst of the worst. Persuasion.

30-something, affectionate and successful: When we meet Dakota Johnson’s Anne Elliot, she tells us she’s “single and thriving” – jokingly, because she’s so clearly perishing. Wasn’t there a better way to joke about his mental state here? “Thriving” is so 2015. It’s not 2022, nor 1817.

Wine Mom Alert: Right from the start of the film, there are some wine mom moments to be had. First, Anne tells us that she got away with it by “laying face down on my bed,” drinking lots of wine, and taking the hottest baths. OK, girl, don’t give us anything! Yes to Netflix constantly glorifying alcoholism as “self-care!” Later, Anne’s sister asks how she would dance to Beethoven. “Alone, in my room, with a bottle of red,” she moaned. Again, a dated wine mom routine that has no place in 2022 Where 1817 – or, really, never.

He’s just not very interested: “I don’t think she’s his type,” another girl tells Anne. I don’t remember what or who it was, but that wording made me furious. We don’t get into “types” in a Jane Austen movie.

She’s a 10 but she liked it Persuasion (2022): As mentioned above, there’s the quote “If you’re a 5 in London, you’re a 10 in Bath” circulating. What we do not have seen is the fact that the movie doubles down on that joke. Later, discussing Mr. Elliot, Anne says, “That’s a 10. I can never trust a 10.” It wasn’t funny the first time, but the second time I had a good laugh – just how crazy the direct statement was.

Mute the music: The film’s score, composed by Rupert Coulson, is neither frilly nor amusing, neither dramatic nor melancholy. Sounds like the floating chords you hear in The great British pastry fair: light, airy, fuzzy, and suddenly exaggerated as soon as a slight drama occurs. Either he’s following the story too much, or he’s veered completely off course, plunging his nose into the cooking tent some two centuries later.

“I am an empath!” Anne’s sister, Mary (Mia McKenna-Bruce), cries out, talking about not being able to spend time with her children if they’re in pain. “Empath” belongs to TikTok and Twitter, and hardly at that. Not at the time of the regency!

More from Wine Mom: “Perfect”, Anne tells us directly, Flea bag-style, as she takes a sip of wine, upset at how her life is going after a long day. Poor Anne. (And poor us.)

Sorority Girl mourning her breakup during a pre-game: “We are worse than strangers. We are exes,” Anne tells the audience, as she breaks everything off with Wentworth. Later: “Now we are worse than exes. We’re friends.” Did the writers forget to annotate the best quotes as they read Persuasion in preparation for the film? Is that why they made up those embarrassing cliches instead?

Self-care: Anne’s sister, who is probably tied in the rankings with Anne for the scariest quotes, is trying to improve herself. “How can I prioritize self-care with everyone around me constantly asking for my attention?” she asks. I love the sentiment of this quote, but my God, drop the “self-care” bit, especially in a time when such a concept simply didn’t exist. Mama’s little wine is enough.

The Sorority Girl preview continues: “You will rally, and you will be happy again!” Anne cries out to herself halfway through the film, but maybe in her mind she really is in a frat bathroom, looking at herself in the mirror and clutching a white claw.

This last tidbit: The Flea bag of all this, Persuasion, is so shocking. By that, I don’t just mean the mockery and sex drama of dark-haired British girls; the whole film mingles with an incoherent fourth wall breaking. Sometimes Anne breaks the fourth wall every two sentences. Then, for a whole half hour, she will act as if we weren’t there. There is no purpose for this gadget. It doesn’t make the story any better; rather, it is a technique used to attract Flea bag fans (like me).

But at the end, Persuasion delivers one of his most obnoxious tunes. As she’s face-sucking with her final choice between suitors – and yes, Anne uses the term “face-sucking” in the film – Anne is watching. It’s scary. And then she winks. Appalling. I had to turn the movie off 10 seconds before the credits started playing.

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