Persuasion Movie Review

Life doesn’t always give us second chances. There are some opportunities that are firmly in the past. Then there are others that do come again. We can either let it slip through our fingers or go for it.

The new adaptation of the Jane Austen novel of Persuasion was released last week on Netflix.

Anne Elliot (Dakota Johnson) gave up the love of her life eight years ago. The daughter of a minor aristocratic family, she was convinced that Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis), a poor sailor was not good enough for her. Now in her late twenties, Anne is still single and pining for what could have been. Frederick has returned to her circle. He is now wealthy, a respected war hero, and a catch, according to the eligible young ladies.

Will they be able to make peace with the past and have the life they were meant to have, or will they once more go their separate ways?

This version is not all bad (well, it’s mostly bad). I loved the color-blind casting. The best performances in the film came by way of Richard E. Grant as Sir Walter Elliot and Henry Golding as Mr. Elliot. Johnson’s accent was not bad and she had decent chemistry with Jarvis.

The main problem is the lack of tension. What makes the narrative is the emotional wall between Anne and Frederick that slowly crumbles over the course of the narrative. That wall came down a little too quickly for my taste. The other problem is that it was turned into a rom-com (which it is not) and the use of modern slang. By the time we get to the letter, the buildup that would normally be there is a pittance of what it should be.

While I understand that the filmmakers wanted to make it palatable to non-Austen fans, they stripped away too much of the original text. This Anne Elliot is closer to Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse. Personality-wise, Anne is a complete 180 from both Elizabeth and Emma. I admire Elizabeth and I get a chuckle from Emma, but Anne I get.

If I were to rank the various adaptations and Austen-adjacent filmed IPs, this Persuasion would be second to the bottom of the list. The only one that is worse is Austenland.

Do I recommend it? Not really. Just stick to either the 95 or 07 version. Trust me, you are not missing much. I would even go as far as to say that this is one of the worst films I have seen this year.

Persuasion is available for streaming on Netflix.

P.S. The anniversary of Austen’s passing was yesterday. She would be spinning in her grave if she saw this movie.


Life, Second Chances, and the Oh F*ck Moment From Persuasion

Persuasion was the last novel Jane Austen completed before her death. It is both bittersweet and heartwarming.

For the uninitiated, Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth. Eight years before the novel begins, Anne and Frederick were ready to marry. But Anne’s family and in particular her father, a snobbish and spendthrift baronet believes that a sailor is a poor choice of husband for a young lady like Anne. Anne reluctantly breaks off the engagement. Eight years later, Frederick, now a respected and admired Captain in the Navy is both wealthy and eligible. Anne’s father and sister have nearly bankrupted the family. They meet again in the home of Anne’s brother in law after Frederick’s sister and brother in law rent Anne’s childhood home.

Will Anne and Frederick be able to move on or will their past choices linger?

Persuasion is for me, not just one of my favorite classic novels, it is one of the best novels of all time. The best novels have a quality that rings true regardless of the era that it was written in or the era that the reader is reading it in. Persuasion is about second chances, letting go of the past and forgiving mistakes.

My favorite moment in the adaptations is when Anne and Frederick meet again after eight years. The camera zooms on both of their faces. They try to appear as composed as possible, but the audience, especially the audience who has read the book knows better. That is the oh f*ck moment in Persuasion.

Sometimes in life, we make a decision. We don’t know the outcome of that decision, nor do we know if we decide to turn it down, if it will come around again. We can only hope that we made the right decision.

In the end (spoiler alert), Anne and Frederick have their happy ending. But their journey is not without it’s hiccups.

The truth is that life is full of ups and downs, and what ifs. But whatever happens, we can only move forward and hope for the best.

My Favorite Jane Austen Adaptations

Adapting a book into a performable format is complicated. It has to be true to the original novel and please the fans while appealing to the entire audience, not just the hard core fan base.

I am a Janeite. As one might be able to guess my personal library and DVD collection contains a fair amount of Jane Austen related materials.

I would to share my top three favorite Jane Austen adaptations and why these three films should be viewed as templates for any writer or filmmaker looking to adapt a book.

My criteria is the following:

1. The actors have to look the part. The chemistry has to be there. Otherwise it all falls apart. (Yes, I am looking at you, 1996 Jane Eyre. William Hurt was too old for the part of Edward Rochester and had zero chemistry with Charlotte Gainsbourg).

2. The set has to look right. Every reader has their own idea of what the setting looks like, but it has to like right.

3.  It MUST follow the book as much as possible.

That being said, here my favorite Jane Austen Adaptations

3. 1995 Sense and Sensibility

Directed by Ang Lee and written by Emma Thompson  (who also played the lead role of Elinor Dashwood), this adaptation is beautiful.

Joining Emma Thompson is Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood, Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars and Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon.

Putting aside the fact that Emma Thompson was a generation older than her character and played Elinor as if she was in her late 20’s, I have no complaints about this adaptation. I’ve read that some people didn’t think that Hugh Grant was the right actor to play Edward, but Edward Ferrars is a bit of a controversial character within Jane Austen fiction. I personally think that Dan Stevens was a better Edward, but to each their own.

2. 1995 Persuasion 

Persuasion is the last of Austen’s completed novels. It has an Autumnal feeling, sad and sweet. As if she knew deep down that this would be her last completed work.

Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds play the two leads, Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth. The chemistry between them is palpable.  They are both age appropriate and look like they have experienced a bit of life.

It’s lush, it’s beautiful and as with the novel, when you think that second chances don’t happen, they do happen. So does the happiness that you thought was lost forever.

1. 1995 Pride And Prejudice

You knew this was obvious. This is the one where Colin Firth in clingy pants strips down to his knickers and white shirt and dives into the lake.

Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle have some of the best on screen chemistry that I have ever seen. While I am sure they both would like the audience to look at their entire body of work and  not just this particular performance, there is no denying that whatever it is that make actors look good together on screen, they have it.

The supporting cast works. The filmmakers crossed their t’s and dotted their eyes with this production.  I still get shivers when I hear the theme song.

I recommend any of these films for any viewer or Janeite, whether they be a newbie or old fan.

Second Thoughts- A Modern Persuasion Fanfiction

*-I don’t own these characters.

Second Thoughts

He knelt down on one knee, offering her the ring. She squealed, and then accepted his proposal and the ring. Both of their families were thrilled. The chapel and banquet hall were booked, the invitations were sent out and the guests confirmed. The menu was planned, the band booked and the gowns and tuxedos for the wedding party purchased. The wedding of Frederick Wentworth and Louisa Musgrove was three weeks away and seemed to be going along without a hitch.

That was, until the groom developed cold feet. Some might say it was normal; after all, it was not often that a man married, but Frederick Wentworth was developing cold feet for another reason.

He was in love with another woman.

Her name was Anne Eliot; they had dated briefly eight years ago and fell madly in love. He had proposed to her impetuously and she had accepted. But their joy was short lived; only a week later, she returned his ring, citing their age and lack of money.

He was heartbroken and swore he would forget her. But he didn’t.

Last year their paths crossed again. He had met Charles Musgrove at the gym and had been invited back to Charles’s house for the game. What Frederick did not anticipate was that Charles Musgrove was brother in law to Anne Eliot.

He also met Charles’s sisters, the twins, Louisa and Henrietta, who had just graduated from college.

Before he knew it, he found himself proposing marriage to Louisa, who eagerly accepted.

Now he was three weeks away from his wedding to a woman whom he did not love and did not know how to tell her.

At dinner, Louisa dropped a bomb on him.

“Anne won’t be at the wedding”.

“Why?” he suddenly dropped his fork

“Something about her thesis, a once in a lifetime opportunity, I don’t remember the details”.

The next day, Frederick learned the rest of the story from Charles.

“It’s true. She got an offer to study at Oxford, on a scholarship. She has to be in London in two weeks”.

When they were in college, Anne had majored in English. Now she was going for her doctorate, her specialty was Shakespeare, her goal, a college professor.  Before they broke up, she had spoken about studying in England one day.

His heart dropped, she probably thought the worst of him.  She was soon to be half a world away. A lifetime time ago, they had both been foolish. He would not make that mistake again.

That night, he knocked on Louisa’s door, hoping he could figure how to break up with her.

“Your in love with Anne” the words came out of her mouth before Frederick could say anything.

“How did you know?” his mouth hung open.

“I may be young, but I know when someone is in love. It’s ok, I, um actually have a confession of my own to make”.

Now it was her turn to confess.

“It just happened, your friend, James Benwick, we started talking, then we starting making out. I’m sorry, Freddy”.

“Do you like him?”.

“I do”.

“Then you should go for it”.

She took off the ring and handed it back to him. Now that barrier was crossed, he had another barrier to cross.

The next day, Frederick waited. He had hastily written her a letter and as soon as her mail had been delivered, he shoved in and waited.

“I cannot wait any longer, knowing that you will soon be on the other side of the Atlantic.  My heart is yours, it was always yours. Do not tell me that you have forgotten me, for I have never forgotten you.  I admit I was angry, foolish and prideful, but you were never far from my thoughts.  Everything I have done is for you alone, have you not seen that? If I let you go to London without telling you how I feel, I will never forgive myself.  Just tell me that the love we had is not dead, for I know that you are the only one I could ever spend my life with.


  She smiled the smile he had not seen in eight years. He got out of the car, feeling his heart beating. This was his last chance and he would not blow it.

“What about Louisa?”.

“I cannot marry her, I am in love with you. Besides, she likes Benwick”.

“You do realize that I will be in London in a few weeks, I don’t know when I will be returning”.

“Yes, I do. There is an opening at the London office. I’m going to ask my boss on Monday if he would be willing to let me relocate”.

“You would do that?” Her smile that he loved returned.

“I would go the ends of the earth for you, we can’t undo the past, but I want this, I want us for as long as we are on this earth”.

“I love you, Freddy, I want to be with you, I don’t care what my father thinks, what my aunt thinks or what anyone else thinks”.

She kissed him and he suddenly remembered how sweet she tasted, what it was like to be near her.

“Do you want to come up, I could make some coffee and we could order in?”.

She held out her hand to him and he took it.

They spend day in her apartment together, talking about the past and dreaming about the future.  As the sun rose the next morning, they slept on her couch, her head against his shoulder.

He could have woken up, after all, but looking at her sleeping next to him, this was all he ever needed and wanted.


The End

The Letter

*-I don’t own any of these characters outside of Madeline and Monique Simone, I’m just borrowing them.

 *-Based on Persuasion by Jane Austen. Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot and Captain Fredrick Wentworth whose engagement is broken off by Anne eight years before the story starts because her family does not approve of him. When Captain Wentworth returns a wealthy man, the question is whether or not Anne and Fredrick still love each other.

 *Persuasion- Belle (Anne Elliot), Adam (Captain Wentworth), Maurice (Sir Walter Elliot), Gaston (Charles Elliot), Madeline Simone (Lady Russell) and Monique Simone (Louisa Musgrove).

 The Letter

Adam kept reliving the last eight years over in his mind, the last time he saw the love in her eyes. He had tried to move on with his life, even had considered marriage to another.

 He had met Monique Simone through the English captain assigned to head his personal guards, James Harville. She was pretty, amiable and he enjoyed her company. 

 Then Adam ran into the one woman whose imprint on his heart was so large, it could never be ignored.


 Her name said it all, she was beautiful, both inside and out.  He loved her with everything he had; she had brought light to his life, where previously, there had been only darkness.   It was her alone that saved him from a life of misery and loneliness. He loved her smile, her laugh, her warmth; he loved her patience, teaching him to read for the first time. He was ready to spend his life with her, to be the father of her children. Then the beast within him resurfaced and any hope of that life disappeared.

  “This is MY kingdom! You will not destroy what has lasted for the last two hundred years!” his voice reverberated through the castle as he slammed the door to their quarters.

 Wincing, Belle knew what her aunt and father were thinking.

 “He’s just having a bad day, that’s all”.

 From the moment Madeline had learned of her niece’s engagement and how she came to meet her fiancée, Madeline was suspicious of Adam, but she kept her opinions to herself, at least for the present time.

 “Adam?” she asked gently, entering the room.

“I am their prince; they should be listening to ME!!!”.

 “Maybe that’s not the reason, yes you are the prince, but if they are here to assist you, why not at least listen to what they are saying” Belle tried to counsel him.

 “You wouldn’t understand”.

 “Let me understand”.

 “You’re a peasant, I wouldn’t know where to begin” Adam regretted the words the moment they left his mouth, but it was too late.

 “If you want a princess, I suggest you find one, though I don’t know what princess would take you, considering your condition when we met”.

 “Belle, I didn’t mean that, I meant….” He searched for the apology to make the words disappear, but they hung like a brick wall between them.

 “I know what you meant. I am aware of the status I was born to, now if you excuse me, your highness, I will be sleeping with the other peasants tonight” with a mocking curtsy, she disappeared into the bedroom she slept in before his transformation.

 “Belle, I…, I’m sorry” he stood at her door for nearly ten minutes before walking away.

 Belle waited for his footsteps to disappear before running to her aunt’s room.

 “Oh my dear girl, I’m sure he didn’t mean what he said. Men may say stupid things, my Henri, may he rest in peace, we had our fights, but at the end of the day, we got through the fights”.

 “It’s not that, I knew, at least I thought I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to marry him..”. Belle continued to cry, not knowing that her father heard every word.

 “Perhaps you should postpone your engagement”.

 “I…We cant, everything is prepared, we cannot stop now”.

 “My dear girl, marriage is forever, if you have any doubts, it is better to consider them now”.

 “But Aunt Madeline, I love him…”.

 “I’m sure you do, but you’re so young, you have not even begun to see the world. To be engaged at nineteen to a man who has clearly exhibited that he has anger issues; it would break my heart to see you and your children living with such a man. Your sons would never learn how to truly respect their wives and your daughters; they will never learn self respect with such a father. I am aware of your feelings, child, I was young and in love once myself, I am only thinking of your future”.

 “Young man, I should like to talk to you” Maurice said sternly, knocking on the door to the quarters where Belle and Adam normally slept.

 Adam’s father had died years ago, but he remembered the voice his father had used when he was in trouble, and Adam knew he was in trouble.

 “Monsieur, I swear, I did not mean what I said, I spoke in anger…”Adam started to apologize.

 “You have hurt my daughter very deeply. Prince or no prince, the man that Belle marries, I expect that he should treat her as she deserves to be treated, not as you have treated her tonight. Whether or not this marriage goes on as planned is not in my hands, but if you continue to treat her as you did earlier, I will make my objections known before the wedding”.

 “I am sorry, monsieur”.

 “I am not the one you should be apologizing to” with those final words, Maurice walked out.

 Adam tried to approach her over the next two days, but she was shadowed by her father or her aunt, who put a continual blockade between the two of them.

 Finally, he found her alone, sitting in the garden as the sun set behind the castle.

 She knew he was there, but she pretended he wasn’t, until he sat down beside her.

 “I am very sorry; I hurt you, my love. Those words were said out of anger and not meant for you. I could not imagine loving anyone more and I cannot wait for the day when we are married” he took her hand in his, the sun glowing as it dipped into the mountains.

 “I can’t marry you” she said quietly.

 “You don’t mean that” Adam was shocked by her words as she placed the ring in his open palm.

 “I’m sorry, I love you, but I cannot marry you” he watched her walk away, still feeling the shock of her words.

 He sat there for what seemed forever, until he heard the sounds of the carriage at the front gates.

 “Belle, wait” he watched her ride away.

 “She’ll come back, master, she has to” Lumiere, always the optimist said behind him.

 “Sure” Adam agreed, returning to the castle. He wandered the halls, until he found his way to their suite. Everything about the room reminded of Belle, in his mind, the words he had so stupidly blurted still hung, the memory still fresh in his mind.

 Two hours later, he ran up to the front gate, thinking he heard the sound of hooves on the soft ground.

 But there was no one.

 “She will return, master, she has to” again, Lumiere was behind him.

 He spent the next eight years regretting his words.

 The moment he ran into her and their eyes locked, he could feel his heart stop.  She looked the same, except for a sadness in her eyes that no one else seemed to detect.

 Over the next few months, they spent time in the same social circles. Monique was part of that circle. He observed Belle, she seemed not to notice or care that an attachment was forming between himself and Monique.

 Adam decided that she had moved on, especially when Gaston reappeared and despite their past, her interest was piqued. It was time to marry and sire an heir, Monique would do.

 Then they traveled to Normandy for day trip and feeling playful, Monique followed the others up the ledge to jump down. The first time, she squealed in delight. The next time, she fell.

 “Get a physician, now” Belle suddenly barked.

 The others seemed shocked at her sudden control.

 “I said now!”.

 When the physician examined her they were relieved to know that Monique would survive.

 Adam checked on her every few days and was surprised to Belle sitting there.

 “I, uh, didn’t know you would be here”.

 “It’s the least I could do; Monique has been a good friend”.

 The next few moments proceeded with awkward silence.

 “I’m sorry if I ever hurt you”.

 “Perhaps we weren’t meant to be, I will leave you with her” he watched her leave, not sure of his next move. She had taken his heart all of those years ago, and even after had he would marry Monique, Belle would be the woman he would always think of.

 The next thing he knew, had had fallen asleep, only to be woken up by Captain Benwick.

 “I will watch her, highness; you should get your rest”.

 “Thank you, Captain, I think I will”.

 Over the next week, business called Adam away from Monique until he heard news that shocked even him.

 “Monique and Captain Benwick are engaged!”.

 He sat for a few minutes, unsure how to react. Then he felt the one thing he didn’t expect: relief.

 Pulling out a fresh piece of paper, he let out everything that had been boiling inside of him. He didn’t know the outcome of his letter, but he hoped for the best. After finishing the letter, he called for a messenger.

 “A letter for you, mademoiselle” the maid handed Belle the letter.

 She opened the letter to have a rose fall out. There was no question whom the letter was from.

 “I have tried to move on with my life, and I had thought after eight years, that I had. But I have not. You are the one woman who has ever owned my heart, I gave it to you once and I give it to you freely once again. I am aware of my past and I hope you can forgive me for the wrongs I have unnecessarily inflicted on you. If you heart is taken by another, I understand, however, if your feelings are unchanged, I look forward to life we may have together. My journey home will commence at midday, I eagerly await your response by then.



 She could feel tears stinging her cheeks, he still loved her.   

 “Inform my father I am going out, I will return” not caring that Philippe was unsaddled; she rode as fast as she could. It was nearly mid day, if she lost him this time, her heart would never heal.

 “Mademoiselle” she ran past Mrs. Potts, Lumiere and Cogsworth.

 “Where is he?” she asked, hastily jumping off Philippe and tying him to the rail.

 Before she could get a response, she ran inside.

 She ran through several rooms to find them empty. Then she heard his voice.


 “I, uh” she started to say, but there were no words. The only thing she could do is kiss him, feel the sweetness of his lips on hers.

 After they parted, she whispered, “I’m sorry”.

 “There is nothing to apologize for, it was my mistake”.

 “But I was the one who stayed away, I should have come back sooner…”.

 “Can we both admit that we made a mistake and leave it at that?”.

 “Yes” she agreed.

 “We must go to your father”.

 “My father?” Belle asked.

 “I must make amends for what I did, you understand, don’t you?”.

 “Of course” she replied.

 He saw the worry in her eyes and knew how much she cared for her father. If Maurice chose to not give his blessing, it would not bode well for their second reunion.

 An hour later, entering the townhouse Belle shared with her father, he could feel his heart beating, despite her hand firmly entrenched in his.

 “Papa, there is someone here to see you” she knocked on her father’s study door.

 The door was opened to reveal not only Maurice, but Madeline.

“My dear girl, we were so worried, when we were told that you ran out…” she stopped when his eyes laid on Madeline.

 “Madame, monsieur” he bowed as a sign of respect, but knowing that it was not Belle, but Madeline who had truly broken them up eight years ago.

 “Your highness”.

 “I have come, monsieur, about an urgent matter”.

 “You wish to marry my daughter, again” it was obvious why Adam had come to visit.

 “Yes, monsieur, I have come for your blessing”.

 “Belle, are you sure you want to marry him?” Madeline asked.

 “Yes, aunt, very much”.

 “Are you sure, after all…”.

 They were all surprised when Maurice spoke up.

 “Madeline, please”.

 “It is alright, monsieur, Madame is right in her response; however, I want to know that despite her opinion of me and her ability to persuade Belle, my life is nothing without her”.

 “Belle?” Maurice turned to his daughter.

 There was no denying the love between Belle and Adam.

 “You have my blessing”.

 “Merci, papa” Belle embraced her father.

  “I want you to know, young man, that I will hold you to your promise of treating my daughter properly”.

 “That I will do, monsieur, I promise you”.

 Madeline cleared her throat, making it obvious that she doubted Adam, but that was ignored.

 A year later, Adam entered their suite to find his wife’s eyes half closed, sitting in her favorite spot on the couch. The birth of their child was less than a month away and the bed was becoming increasing uncomfortable.

 Sitting down next to her, he removed her stocking before massaging her bare feet.

 “Just what I needed”.

 “Come here” he said.

 She switched sides as they sat next to each other. She groaned as he began to rub her shoulders.

 “Even better”.

 After a few more minutes of the massage, her head lay in his lap.

 “I love you”.

 “I love you too”.

 They were found the next morning, sleeping on the same couch in the same positions.

 “I am sorry to wake you, highness”.

 “What time is it?” Belle asked.


 She groaned, it was time to get up.

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