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Seven Hills

Boston-area exploration, travel notes, crafty things, and other Somervillainy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not a Pretty Persuasion

Just a note to say Sunday's "Persuasion" adaptation on PBS was all kinds of let-down to me. Even though it was only about ten minutes shorter than the terrific 1995 version, it felt like they galloped through the story on fast-forward. The director also employed the annoying technique of having Anne Elliot gaze into the camera anytime something significant happened, and sometimes, apparently, just for the hell of it. If this trick had been used once or twice it may have carried some punch, but as it was, it kind of looked like the actress was forgetting her lines and looking desperately our way, hoping for a cue.

Poor Sally Hawkins was made even more unattractive than Anne Elliot needs to be, with her hair scraped into a little knob atop her head, the severity only broken by a few stringy ringlets. As for the supposedly redeeming quality of her excellent character, undervalued and suppressed by her overbearing family, she came across as not so much dominated by her inferiors as too feeble-minded to puzzle out what any alternatives to their demands might be.

The movie's worst moment was also the subject of the funniest observation I saw about it, from an SFGate review, describing the triumphant moment when, after running halfway across Bath and back, Anne leans in, open-mouthed and runny-nosed, to share a kiss with her beloved. "Her mouth twitches like a bass zeroing in on a tasty side order of plankton as her face moves slowly toward its target." So romantic!

It all left such a fishy taste in my mouth that, even though it was late, the only way to cleanse my palette was to dig out my old, staticky VHS recording of Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds doing the story justice, and watch the whole tale through again.



At 1/18/2008 3:42 PM, Anonymous Natalie said...

I have to watch this one. Don't miss sunday nights Northanger Abbey. I really liked it a lot and it got a great review today in SF gate. You can see my write up on Coquette and I'd be curious to hear which bonnet turns out to be your fav. :)

At 1/19/2008 1:01 PM, Blogger Chrissa said...

I will be watching this Sunday for sure, and looking forward to seeing your PBS review. I loved the photo you posted of the bonneted young actress :)


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