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Jane Austen's - Persuasion from BBC

Updated on November 12, 2011
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Alicia has been an Author, Columnist, and Reviewer for 10 years. Her success came from perseverance plus organized goal setting.

From left to right, the Elliot sisters: Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary.
From left to right, the Elliot sisters: Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary.

Jane Austen (1775 - 1817)

Portrait painted when Jane was a young adult.
Portrait painted when Jane was a young adult.

Made for TV - Movie Review

"The Complete Jane Austen's - Persuasion" (actual title of movie released in 2007 by BBC) is based on the novel by Jane Austen, an author from the Regency period in England who wrote about her own time frame in portrayal of that era's moral code, society expectations, and all that living in the Regency period entailed. This made for television movie is definitely a people story with solid characterization. Director Adrian Shergold, cast, and crew recreated Jane Austen's era and the contents of her book expertly; giving the viewer a delightful window into a time frame long gone.

"The Complete Jane Austen's - Persuasion" does not deviate much from the book, but it does not include everything for it is a mere 1 hour and 33 minutes in length. It's more of an abridged version, portraying the highlights of the book without destroying the main plot. As someone who has read Jane Austen's book Persuasion, I can reassure that this film handles the books theme, plot, and subplots well.

"The Complete Jane Austen's - Persuasion" begins with Anne Elliot (Sally Hawkins) at the age of 19, eight years after she has cut off her engagement with Frederick Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones) because in society he was several stations beneath her, could not receive her father's and Lady Russell's (Alice Krige) approval for the match. Anne finds out that during these past eight years Frederick Wentworth has become a Captain in the Royal Navy of England, has money and is self made, which places him as her equal in society status. Anne is the middle daughter of Sir Walter Elliot (Anthony Head), a widower Baronet who has squandered his family's fortune and is forced to rent out their family mansion to Admiral Croft (Peter Wight) from the Royal Navy of England. The biggest rub for Anne Elliot is that Admiral Croft's wife, Mrs. Wentworth-Croft (Marion Bailey), is Captain Frederick Wentworth's sister and she fears Frederick will visit his sister which will force Anne to associate out of politeness with him.

The renting of their family mansion forces her father, and her eldest sister, Elizabeth Elliot (Julia Davis), to relocate to the city of Bath, a fabulous place known for its mineral baths, shopping and fabulous functions for the well-to-do. Elizabeth Elliot insists her friend, Mrs. Clay (Mary Stockley), a widow and the local Vicar's (played by Michael Fenton-Stevens) daughter, accompany Elizabeth so they can experience many fun things together. Elizabeth informs Anne that their youngest, only other sister, is ill thus requiring Anne to reside with and help Mary (Amanda Hale). Sir Walter Elliot agrees that Anne should stay and be there for her youngest sister who married one of the neighboring families. Anne, not a fan of the city of Bath, stays behind at Mary's home near their family mansion in-spite of her trepidations regarding Mrs. Wentworth-Croft's brother out of familial obligation.

Exactly as Anne fears, Captain Frederick Wentworth does indeed visit at his sister's, Anne's family mansion that the Crofts are renting, for a spell. Anne is tormented by the fact her youngest sister, Mary Elliot-Musgrove, and Mary's husband, Charles Musgrove (Sam Hazeldine), continually invite Admiral Croft and his wife to join them on their functions (formal dances, dinners, lunches, tea-times, walks, etc.) which brings Frederick more and more into association with Anne's circle of friends. Anne does everything she can to avoid being in Frederick's presence, even volunteers to watch her nephew, Little Charles (Louis Shergold), when he breaks his collarbone instead of attending a dance held by Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove (Nicholas Farrell and Stella Gonet), the parents of Anne's brother-in-law. Anne further notices that her brother-in-law's sister, Louisa Musgrove (Jennifer Higham) is smitten by Frederick who seems to return her noticeable advances which further precipitates Anne to do her best to stay in the background; continue to try and be unnoticed by Frederick.

The rest of the movie, continues portraying Anne's anguish and her doing her best not to wear her heart on her sleeve since she did after all end their engagement, yet in retrospect rues this decision. The subplot and plot further explore how people can be persuaded by well-intentioned others. The story-line has a kind message about how people can mature, grow as a person, and change their minds. "The Complete Jane Austen's - Persuasion" also portrays how something can seem to be one way when in actuality is completely different which makes viewing this great people story fun.

Other primary cast members, in order of credits, included: Tobias Menzies (William Elliot, the money grubbing cousin of Anne Elliot, Elizabeth Elliot, and Mary Elliot-Musgrove), Rosamund Stephen (Henrietta Musgrove, sister of Charles Musgrove and Louisa Musgrove), Finlay Robertson (James Benwick, long time and widowed friend of Frederick Wentworth and Harry Harville), Joseph Mawle (Harry Harville, best male friend to Frederick Wentworth), Maisie Dimbleby (Mrs. Smith, Anne's friend who lives in the city of Bath), Sarah Buckland (Nurse Rooke, the ill and widowed Mrs. Smith's housekeeper-nurse), and Tilly Tremayne (Viscountess Dalrymple, cousin of Sir Walter Elliot).

"The Complete Jane Austen's - Persuasion" is available on DVD. This BBC produced movie is listed as NR (not rated), but for those uncertain, if I were to rate this, the rating would be G (General Audience). Personally, the subject matter is not for very young children, but eleven years of age and older might enjoy "The Complete Jane Austen's - Persuasion". I first read the book Persuasion when I was eleven years old; loved it. I have all of Jane Austen's classic historical-romance books she wrote on my bookshelves, perfect additions to my personal at-home library. Highly recommend collecting these books, and taking the time to watch this awesome film! "The Complete Jane Austen's - Persuasion" is definitely seeing history through fiction.



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    • USMCwifey09 profile image


      9 years ago

      the Sense and Sensibility version you have listed is the best interepretation I've seen. Excellent hub!


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