Despite the fact that I took a course on Jane Austen at college I’ve never actually read Persuasion so when I was reminded over at Monomania Diaries that this was showing I made sure to stick a reminder up. After all, I hadn’t seen any of the other Jane Austen adaptations that made up ITV’s Jane Austen season.
Anne Elliot, the main protagonist, has given up hope of happiness and marriage. When she was younger she had fallen in love with Frederick Wentworth, but her family, believing that a naval officer was unsuitable, had advised against a marriage and she had allowed herself to be persuaded. Now, at 27, it doesn’t look as if she will ever find a husband. Not only that, but her family’s finances aren’t the best and they are forced to rent out the family home in an attempt to make some money. However, Wentworth re-enters her life as his sister is the one to lease the Elliott’s house.
I found myself enjoying this a lot more than I thought I would. Maybe it is just on comparison to the recent remake of Pride and Prejudice, or perhaps a reaction to Becoming Jane. Or maybe it was just a superior cast. Hawkins was perfect as the slightly withdrawn, but intelligent Anne. And Rupert Penry-Jones was perfect in the leading man role And then there is the supporting cast. Anthony Head and Tobias Menzies, for example are both perfectly cast. Head as the vain Sir William Elliott, and Menzies as the seemingly charming but untrustworthy cousin Elliott.
Throughout the programme Anne often looks directly to camera, a device which I felt was ever-so-slightly overused, but worked very well in getting the audience to empathise with Anne.