Binge Watching “Persuasion” Adaptations

Last weekend, I watched the two most recent movie adaptations of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

Watching them back-to-back was an unexpected thing! I found the 1995 version at a great thrift store, so I decided to watch it first and follow with the newer one, from 2007, in a few weeks. My mom was enthusiastic after the credits rolled on the 1995, and we decided to watch the next one over the weekend, too.

A little about the two films: the 1995 Persuasion stars Amanda Root as Anne Elliot and Ciarán Hinds as Captain Wentworth. The 2007 Persuasion stars Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot and Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Wentworth. Both were originally made for British television and both filmed on location in the countryside, Lyme, and Bath.

I recommend either version, as both do a excellent job adapting the beloved Austen novel. Some things were more distinctly likable in each one, yet I find they have enough differences to make them both watchable for their own merit.

~a brief comparison (or, reasons to watch both of these ASAP~

Cinematography: Both have sweeping English views, coastal visits, and on-location filming. The 1995 version, however, takes its time a bit with the storyline and the scenery, allowing for slightly more contemplative shots. The 2007 has tighter framing on the cast, so the emotions are at the forefront in many of their interactions.

Supporting characters: Vibrant! I find a little more empathy and understanding for Anne’s family in the 1995, while the 2007 periphery cast showcases more faults and annoyances. Either way, I can’t believe Anne puts up with them so gently! In both cases, I LOVE the Crofts.

Protagonist casting: I like the protagonist casting of both adaptations. I think the Amanda and Ciarán of the 1995 suit the more reserved, subdued tones of the story — the passion is still there, just under the surface. Sally and Rupert as Anne and Wentworth in the 2007 do an admirable job, especially in the asides Anne has toward the camera which mirror the narrator of the novel itself. But when it comes to the two Captains side by side, I must choose Rupert Penry-Jones as the most handsome Wentworth!

The endings: *Spoiler Alert* each suits the story build-up. 1995’s Anne is to have her first adventure and chance to see the world, as she has expressed desire to do, with her place now as the Captain’s wife on a ship. Perhaps the sweeter ending, to me, is that of the 2007 with what appears to be “home” settled: Wentworth has acquired Anne’s home estate, Kellynch. From Anne’s sad and frazzled appearance in the beginning, and her having to step away from home, this brings closure and a sense of a happy future with Wentworth’s gift. I appreciate that Austen’s original ending left the characters in a happy situation together with an open-ended future, and both adaptations had freedom to depict what that looks like.

For more about Austen’s Persuasion here on the blog, check out my post with Favorite Quotes from “Persuasion” from a few years ago!

Have you read or watched one of these adaptations? Which is your favorite?

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