My sister sent me a text bewailing the new trailer for Persuasion 2022, so I watched it. I could barely make it through, and my sister’s texts seemed to imply she muted it at some point. My sister said Americans shouldn’t be allowed to adapt Jane Austen. All of my sisters and my sister-in-law planned to watch it this weekend.
I’m not sure what the filmmakers were aiming for in tone. I doubt serious. Was the love story supposed to be taken seriously and the overall tone light, is THAT what they were attempting? Ha. As plain comedy, not clever or funny. As parody, the same. So much vulgarity. The “innuendos” were so bald they weren’t innuendos, nor remotely clever in any way. Again, was that supposed to be parody?
It almost felt like they were trying to imitate the 2020 Emma; you can’t do Persuasion with bad writers and filmmakers, Emma’s story works with an actually well-written light comedic adaptation. Like my sister said, those filmmakers understood Jane Austen. My sister in law said Pride and Prejudice could have been done with a similar tone (again with actually talented filmmakers), and I said, yes not the moody, melancholy, melodramatic tone Pride and Prejudice 2005 was done in, again something JA would have mocked. I feel like this Persuasion was so bad, Jane Austen might have been beyond mocking it.
It felt like it was written by a woman with the mind of a pervy ten year old American boy (I’d originally just said the boy, but my brother said no boy would write or read Jane Austen, true). We did laugh at some lines. Sometimes because they were actually funny or the situational comedy was funny (one sister thought Mary particularly good), but mostly just because everything was so awkward, uncomfortable, and absurd.
Everything was s. p. e. l. l. e. d. out like we were six year olds. See, my daddy is arrogant. See, I am the good person (are you though?). The modern language. The breaking of the 4th wall which Anne did in the 2008 Persuasion and which is a particular pet peeve of mine, this Anne made 10x more annoying by attempting to be mischievous . . . or something. Nothing about this Anne made it at all believable that she was persuadable. So the plot and title didn’t make sense.
Several of the girls thought Wentworth was the ugliest man ever and were disappointed Henry Golding wasn’t the leading man. Wentworth definitely looked working class and not a gentleman. I didn’t think he was ugly, but when he started talking, his expressions and eyelids were so off, we determined he looked high. Which pairs well with Anne, since she was an alcoholic.
I and another sister thought Charles Musgrove was the best-looking. What was Anne thinking? However, a) she didn’t deserve him (honestly I liked Mary better than her, not that Mary deserved him either), and b) we wouldn’t have received that gem of a dinner scene had she accepted him nor that scene I mostly missed of him carrying Mary like a sack of potatoes.
We watched maybe two-thirds before the guys came back, and we had supper. They asked us, after our complaints why we were still watching, and to see if we’d notice, bumped the time up 20 minutes. Oh, we noticed, I was watching the clock the whole movie to see if it was almost finished. I paid less attention to the last 15 or so minutes they’d left us (oddly, no one wanted to go back to where we’d actually paused).
Oh, I also thought maybe they were trying for Bridgerton effects with some of the modernization (except they picked bad (i.e. horny alcoholic “heroine”, vulgar simplistic puerile language) or unrealistic modernization and didn’t blend it in, and it doesn’t work, JA is set it it’s time, Bridgerton is fantasy (in so many ways) and Bridgerton picked well and blended well by comparison (like the costumes and the music, LOVED those, also, clearly talented people behind that, unlike in this movie). Y’all, Bridgerton is silly, silly, silly, but it is at least funny (although perhaps not always intentionally), bright, light, pretty, and cohesive. Persuasion 2022 makes Bridgerton look brilliant.