My Review: Persuasion

So I was going to wait until Nemesis let us know if the dvd version of Persuasion was better than the PBS Masterpiece Theatre airing (for those of you who haven't heard, they (the idiots at PBS) cut about 10 minutes from the adaptation) but much of what I would complain about (and praise) is not affected so I thought I would move forward.

First of all, who in their lack of brilliance decided that Gillian Anderson would be the best spokesperson for Masterpiece Theatre? I realize that she has done some work with Masterpiece, but still I don't think that qualifies her to give a mini lecture on Jane Austen or host an entire season of Masterpiece Theatre. Rather, if I hadn't already been an avid Austen fan, Anderson hosting the season would probably have convinced me to steer clear--if it were a science fiction marathon (or X-files) she would make a great and credible introduction. I am mostly refraining from commenting on her affected "British" accent which just further ruined her credibility in my mind (the people in England that I ran into didn't actually talk like that unless, of course, they were Madonna). And finally, cutting 10 minutes out of the movie so we could listen to her does not make me happy or feel confident about the direction that Masterpiece Theatre is heading. Who in their right mind would actually think, "lets cut 10 minutes of a Jane Austen film adaptation so we can talk about what we are shortly going to air"?

Okay, on to the movie itself. I thought Anthony Head as Sir Walter Elliot was brilliant as the "evil" father and I quite enjoyed Amanda Hale's turn as the obnoxious Mary Elliot. In fact, as a whole, I found that the casting was fairly well done (Sally Hawkins' portrayal of Anne Elliot's lip being the exception--the quivering just didn't do anything but annoy me). This actually makes the fact that the movie itself was not as well done all the more frustrating by providing a sense of how good it could have been. I'll discuss Rupert Penry-Jones and his Capt. Wentworth shortly.

So obviously I found the movie frustrating. I did so on two basic points. First, I found the camera work itself distracting. To my very untrained eye, it just felt as if they were trying too hard to be a little different or artistic. But I think if at any point your audience is distracted enough to notice your work you have failed in what should be your main objective: telling a story.

And the second point is going to have to wait until tomorrow. Sorry.

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