The Persuasion Review: Dakota Johnson Dazzles as Anne Elliot in Jane Austen's Adaptation

The Persuasion Review: Dakota Johnson Dazzles as Anne Elliot in Jane Austen’s Adaptation

By Mahesh Limbani

The novels of Jane Austen are characterized by remarkable precision. She captures the early nineteenth-century angst and joy of England in Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility.

The stories explored women’s position in society, their struggle to find freedom from male dominance, along with their desperate attempts to find a husband, the more wealthy the better.

For women from modest families, this was a way to climb the social ladder. Austen’s work focuses heavily on this, and although she has been very popular for 200 years with very loyal fans, she rose to even greater heights after she had two of her novels adapted for the screen.

The Persuasion Review: Dakota Johnson Dazzles as Anne Elliot in Jane Austen’s Adaptation

There was a considerable upsurge in Austen’s admirers after the release of Sense and Sensibility by Ang Lee, as well as Emma by Amy Heckerling. Even those who hadn’t read her books were intrigued by the films.

It has also been argued by purists that Austen’s great literature belongs to the written word, and any screen adaptation will not meet her standards.

This group of men and women think they know better than scriptwriters and directors how to interpret Austen’s Regency era and its social complexities better than scriptwriters and directors.

There is bound to be opposition to director Carie Cracknell’s latest Austen attempt, Persuasion, on Netflix, even though its core plot remains nearly intact. Furthermore, Austen’s settings remain the same as she had envisioned them.

Stunningly captured by cinematographer Joe Anderson, Bath looks divine with its rugged coastline washed by the gently crashing waves. There are many events that take place there as well.

Marriage is Mary’s (Mia Mckenna-Bruce’s) obsession, and she tells her unmarried sister, Anne Elliot (Dakota Johnson), that it is the greatest blessing in life.

It becomes the movie’s most fundamental theme, passion, and pastime. This is not surprising, since that was the way society was then.

Due to his lack of money and rank, Anne had spurned marriage to a handsome Naval officer. Although deeply in love with him, Anne walks away from him after receiving unsolicited advice from Lady Russell (Nikki Amuka-Bird).

After eight years, Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis) returns to the pining Anne, and it is the universe’s way of bringing him back.

As Persuasion struggles through pride, ego, and an acute sense of disappointment and frustration, she pretends that she does not care for me.

In their desperate attempts to open up their hearts, Frederick and Anne go through agonizing moments. As for the romance, we know how it would unfold.

It may not be the best work, but trying to find the book on screen is pointless, and Persuasion would work if a viewer could accept this.

It’s Johnson’s brilliance that I take away from it. The depth of her sorrow at having lost her love is conveyed with subtlety, jovialness, and immense expressiveness.

She captures her later dilemma with dazzling honesty when he comes back into her life. It is never implied that Anne is an opportunist; she has never stopped loving him and regrets not listening to him. The character of Anne is instilled with a rare candor by Johnson.