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.

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Can You Ever Forgive Me? Movie Review

The dream for many writers to become successful and earn their living solely via their pen or their computer. The reality is that only a small percentage of writers reach that level of fame and success. The rest of us have to earn our income via a regular job and write in the evenings and on the weekends.

In the new movie, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (based upon the book of the same name), Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) is a New York City based writer whose professional glory days are long gone. She is out of work and needs money fast. While doing research in the library for her next book, she finds a letter from a famous writer and sells it.  This leads Lee down the path of forging letters of famous writers who have passed on. Her cohort in this deception is Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant). Though Lee is making bank, time is running out on her con game. Will she get caught and if she does, what will her punishment be?

Other reviewers have stated that it is Melissa McCarthy’s best performance since Bridesmaids. I couldn’t agree more. Lee is crass, rude and has an alcohol problem. She is grasping at straws in attempt to revive her career and is desperate enough to do something stupid/illegal to regain that career. If Lee brings the serious moments to this film,  Jack brings in the jokes and the lighter moments, with a slightly adult and sardonic sense of humor.

I absolutely recommend it.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is presently in theaters. 

Throwback Thursday-Penelope (2006)

Curses are a funny thing.  What we think of as curses can often be blessing in disguises.

In Penelope (2006), the title character, played by Christina Ricci was born into a wealthy family. But money, as the Beatles said, cannot buy me love.

Penelope is cursed. As with all fairy tales, the curse is only broken by true love.  Penelope’s parents (Catherine O’Hara & Richard E. Grant) invite several young men to their isolated estate to break the curse, but the curse still holds. A tabloid editor, Lemon (Peter Dinklage) sends a down on his luck gambler, Max (James McAvoy) to find out the secret for Penelope’s disappearance from the world.   But Max’s job becomes difficult when he realizes that his feelings for Penelope have become real.

What I like about this movie is that is more than the standard fairy tale with the standard happy ending. There is an aspect of self love and appreciating yourself before anyone else can.  The message of self esteem and self worth is an important one, regardless of who we are or what we believe.

I recommend it.

 

Downton Abbey Series 5 Episode 2 Recap: Bye Bye Jimmy And The Not So Secret Secrets

Like all recaps, these posts contain spoilers from Sunday’s episode. Read at your own risk if you have not see the episode.

Upstairs

Mary is chugging ahead with her plans to go away with her semi boyfriend Tony Gillingham. She tells her family that is going away for a “sketching holiday” with a female friend.  I doubt that she will need her pencils and sketchbook. Before she goes away, she asks Anna to pick her up a little something to make sure that baby#2 does not come. When buying birth control Anna has to prove that she is not a slut by loudly announcing that she is married. The night before Mary is supposed to leave for her “sketching holiday” Charles Blake returns, they have a very interesting conversation on love and sex.

Mrs. Drewe is become increasingly suspicious about Edith’s curious interest in Marigold. I would think the same thing if I were in her shoes.

An art historian, Simon Bricker (Richard E Grant) has come to the Downton to examine a painting.  His interest lies beyond the painting (and towards the lady of the house) while her husband  is oblivious.

Speaking of Robert, the idea that Tom might take up with Miss Bunting and return to his old ways does not make the lord of the manor happy. Adding to the unease is the idea that Carson is heading the committee to build the war memorial instead of traditionally deferring to the Earl.

Rose, like many young people, is interested in the latest and greatest. To her, that is the wireless. Robert has to be eased (as he does into many things that modern) into the idea of bringing a radio into Downton.

Violet continues with her Emma like meddling and matching making with Isobel, Lord Merton and Dr. Clarkson.

Downstairs

After discovering Jimmy has been discovered in bed with Lady Anstruther, his pretty boy backside is out of Downton. Thomas admits to Anna that he and Jimmy had something going on, despite their history.

Mr. Carson is as bothered by Miss Bunting as Robert is. Daisy continues with her lessons with Miss Bunting.

Anna and Mrs. Hughes discover Edith’s broken heart when they begin to clean up her room.

Miss Baxter tells Mr. Molesley about her past. Mr. Molesley does not believe that everything she is saying is the truth.

Policemen come to the servants hall to investigate the mysterious death of Mr. Green last season.  Does this pose trouble Anna and Bates?

Analysis

I like the way the season is progressing. If the theme of this season is secrets, there is more than enough to keep the storyline going.

Dowager Line Of The Week– Unfortunately, I don’t have one. But I am so thrilled that Joanne Froggatt won the Golden Globe on Sunday for best supporting actress. It was well deserved.

 

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