Royal Navy captain Wentworth was haughtily turned down eight years ago as suitor of pompous baronet Sir Walter Elliot’s daughter Anne, despite true love. Now he visits their former seaside country estate, rented by his brother-in-law, admiral Croft, so the financially stressed baronet can afford a fashionable, cheaper residence in trendy Bath. First the former lovers meet again on the estate, where they feel vibes again, but neither dares admit them until it seems too late. Yet the truth becomes clear, both have moved, but meet again in Bath.
User Reviews: Adrian Shergold’s adaptation of Persuasion was the last in the ITV Jane Austen Season, and it ended on a high note. Very different style from the previous two, and is rather sombre in tone, as befits the story and characters in the novel. There is a voice over so as to enable the audience to get closer to the character of Anne Elliot played very well by Sally Hawkins. Rupert Penry-Jones is very good as Captain Wentworth, whose interaction with Anne is concise and to the point. They are not strangers, but they are estranged. Adrian Shergold employs a lot of hand held camera, and uses a lot of close ups in order for the audience to recognise the relationships between characters and their feelings. Quite often Sally Hawkins looks at the camera, and I felt this worked very well. My only slight annoyance with this adaptation was the director’s unwillingness to have two people who are talking in the shot at the same time. Preferring to move from a close up of one to a close up of the other (shot reverse shot as it were) continuously. This works well occasionally, but when it is as often as it is in this adaption you become very aware of the camera and its movements, which detracts from the story and the conversation itself. This is my only slight problem with this adaptation. The supporting cast was brilliant, with Amanda Hale brilliantly playing Anne moronic younger sister. Alice Krige was great as Lady Russell, and Anthony Head as Sir Walter Elliot. This is to mention only a few. To say that ITV’s Austen Season did not start well would be an understatement. However, with last weeks brilliant Northanger Abbey and this weeks Persuasion they have finished on a high. Each had its own tone and style, and forgetting Mansfield Park, they worked rather well. I would recommend this film to both fans of the book and newcomers to Austen’s work. I have deliberately refrained from comparisons between this and the 1995 version, both are very good and this one has some very inventive camera work.