Sunday, February 7, 2010
Stars Ann Firbank, Bryan Marshall
I've now seen three film versions of Jane Austen's Persuasion. And I liked two of them. Can you guess which two? In other words, I think two of the three do justice to Austen's book. I *am* planning on watching the 1995 Persuasion again. So I can compare it with this earlier one. But I know without a doubt that I prefer this version, the 1971 one, to the newer one, the 2007 one.
The Script. If you want Austen, good, pure Austen. Then this is a great version. It isn't rushed. It isn't ridiculous. The characters--all the characters--act and react with motivation. There's a purpose to everything. There's the proper time devoted to everything. So that the story stands on its own. It isn't crazy. It isn't wild. Some might say it is a bit slow. Some might argue that not much happens. Some might say there's not enough action or movement. It's just men and women talking with one another. Be it sitting down and talking. Or taking a long walk and talking. Or talking in between dances. Or talking at concerts. Or whatnot. But because such attention is payed to talking, there is a story that actually develops and unfolds. This movie is for folks that actually like reading the book.
This movie is nice and long. Around four hours. So it's not for the impatient. But I would argue that it's better to be too long than too short. The biggest problem I had with the 2007 Persuasion was that it was too short, too rushed, too hectic, too out-of-control.
I loved the characterization in this one. I thought it did justice to the book. I loved seeing Charles and Mary. Loved seeing Mrs. Smith. There were characters in the book that I didn't really focus on all that much but who I noticed (and appreciated) in this adaptation. I don't think I realized how funny Charles is. How much of a character he is. And Mary! Well, I always knew Mary was something. But I thought she was very well portrayed here.
This version isn't perfect. I'm not saying that it is. While the letter scene is properly there (as is the wonderful scene between Captain Harville and Anne which leads to the letter to begin with), there isn't much passion shown between the two characters at the end. Everything is very restrained. Everything is very calm. Which is probably true to Austen. I think there are good reasons why Austen doesn't have couples making out here, there, and everywhere. I think in some ways that's what makes Austen movies more satisfying to modern audiences. The good kissing bits in the end.
But even though there isn't passion (at least as most would define it) shown, I think the movie does show the two to be in love.
Quite different from the 2007 ending! Here's the 1995 ending if you want to compare it as well.
I think this version is fairly faithful to the book. Not completely. I did notice that Mary and Charles' son didn't get sick or injured (or whatever). But for the most part, I think everything that happened in the movie happened in the book as well. And that's something at least. If there are a few parts in the book that didn't make it to the movie, well, it could always be worse.
Which Anne do you prefer?
Which Captain Wentworth?