1971: Ann Firbank and Bryan Marshall star in this adaptation, the longest and most faithful of the three I watched. I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to, considering I’d never heard of any of the actors. I thought Anne was a little more clever, maybe, than I’d expected—pursed lips and rolled eyes occasionally. I thought Wentworth was dreamy, but too cheerful—I expected him to be a little more brooding. Definitely glad I watched it, though.
2007: This might be my least favorite adaptation? I love love love Sally Hawkins, and I think Rupert Penry-Jones is a fox. I thought they were both great. But they twisted it all around, and the kiss scene was suuuuper long and awkward. Trembly lips. And she looked at the camera too much. It was fun recognizing a lot of the other characters though.
So 1995 wins this round, as I assume it does for a lot of viewers.
I also mentioned last time that I was going to read Persuade Me, modernization novel. I did read it, rather quickly, in fact, and thought it did a good job of bringing it up to modern times. I wouldn’t mind seeing a movie modernization as well—not necessarily that book adapted to a movie, but some version.
Anyway, that wraps up Persuasion. I’m going back to Bronte now, with Anne B.’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
I started with this version for a very specific reason: it was the only one available in the library. But I loved it.
Poor, put-upon Anne has spent the past eight years mired in regret (but is not bitter, somehow, which makes me think I should stop griping about my first love).
She’s so pretty. She reminds me of my best friend’s mom. Good old Mrs. P.
Then you have Captain Wentworth, who basically turned out even awesomer than he was when Anne loved him at 17 (which REALLY makes me think I should stop griping about my first love because he didn’t turn out awesomer eight years later, he just got married and had a baby. Which can be awesome, but it’s not like he achieved naval fame and fortune, sooo…).
He does not remind me of anyone and I miss his Mr. Rochester mustache, but luv u Ciaran Hinds!
I got SO SO angsty when they were on the walk in Uppercross (I think? Maybe Lyme?) and he helped Louisa over the little wall and made Anne fend for herself. Like I yelled at the TV and the dogs got scared. UGH why would you DO that FW?! I was a little concerned that he only wanted her because of Wm. Elliott and Benwick (which I’d been pronouncing Ben-Whick and not Bennick because I’m American and didn’t know otherwise) were showing interest, and I knew her heart was true to him all along. But he proved himself worthy.
I got equally squeally during the big reveal here as I had in the book. When he knocks over his little blotting salts! Oh! And she’s in shock after getting the letter. And then when they see each other in the street, and it’s just like DANG FINALLY. And then he comes to her house and William’s like “Yo lemme love you forever” and Frederick’s like “You snooze you lose, cos I’m marrying your girl Anne.”
I just bought the Kindle Version of “Persuade Me” which is a modern retelling, so I’m probably going to start that tonight while I wait for my next couple versions of the movie to arrive.
Also this was probably my favorite line in the book, just FYI.
and with Captain Wentworth, some moments of communication continually occurring, and always the hope of more, and always the knowledge of his being there.
“If I was wrong in yielding to persuasion once, remember that it was to persuasion exerted on the side of safety, not of risk. When I yielded, I thought it was to duty; but no duty could be called in aid here. In marrying a man indifferent to me, all risk would have been incurred, and all duty violated.”
Anne Elliott, Persuasion by Jane Austen
I’m thisclose to finishing Persuasion, after starting it on Friday. Holy. Cow. So great! Anne Elliot is a star. I couldn’t breathe when she and Captain Harville were having that conversation about who loves longest, and Wentworth is listening in. I clasped my hands to my face when I read Wentworth’s note, covering a huge grin. I can’t wait to get home and read the rest!
Tonight I’ll be watching the Root/Hinds version, with two more on the way from Netflix later this week. Oddly, Ciaran Hinds is who I’ve been picturing as I read the story, but with Sally Hawkins as Anne—weird combo. Ahhh you guys! Such a great book. I am pumped to see it in movie form.
I didn’t forget! It’s just that Christmas came, and I was in the middle of Game of Thrones, and then I started watching Battlestar Galactica, and life happened. BUT I re-started Sense and Sensibility last week, and I finished it this morning. Great book, obviously. I’d like to think I’m more like Elinor, but I tend to fall into obsessions wholeheartedly and then gush about them, so I guess I’m pretty Marianne-ish. Then there’s poor underused Margaret, who could be such a foil for her sisters’ capers.
So then I watched the 1995 version, the Thompson/Winslet/Grant/Rickman version. First off, mega-swoons for all our love interests. Edward Ferrars is so gentle and unassuming. I love how he draws Margaret out at the beginning. Willoughby is definitely dashing, despite his damnable deeds. Sorry, just wanted to see how many d-words I could get it there. But you have to admit, when he pulls out his mini-book-o’-sonnets you get super excited for Marianne, because he seems perfect for her! And good old Colonel Brandon, who let’s face it, I would watch/listen to read the phone book or whatever medium existed for keeping track contact information back then. The papers. But he’s so solemn and steadfast!
Then you’ve got John and Fanny Dashwood and she’s a bitch and do you even ever have mention of the son? And Lucy Steele, who you can tell right away is going to be bad but especially when Robert Ferrars shows up—she gets this look that kind of gives away that secret. Really the whole supporting cast—Gemma Jones, Imelda Staunton and Hugh Laurie, they’re all fantastic. Mrs. Jennings and John Middleton and the F Minor joke at the pianoforte the first night at Barton Cottage. So good!
I guess the only real glaring problem is the ages: Emma is 35 playing 19. Kate is 20 playing 17, which works of course. Hugh is roughly Emma’s age, so at least they’re well matched, but they’re just supposed to be younger! But let’s face it, Emma Thompson can do no wrong, so we’ll let it slide.
(Incidentally, I’ve just discovered through IMDB that Emilie Francois, who played lil’ Margaret, converted to Islam and will still be willing to act within the confines of her religion—ie, no sex scenes and her hair must stay covered.)
Anyway, there’s nothing really to be said about this movie that hasn’t been said by many wiser folks than me. It’s so great, I loved it even before I’d read the book, and it’ll be a classic long after other adaptations come and go. And I will admit to playing Temple Run while I watched, so I may have missed some details—feel free to shout at me if this is actually a terrible interpretation.
Speaking of which, I should be able to watch the 2008 Dan Stevens version around Thursday or so. Do you know, it is not available for purchase for online viewing anywhere in the US? Not on Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, Netflix, Crackle, iTunes, PBS—no dice. All versions direct back to the 1981 version, which I already know I will skip. I’m actually super excited for this cast, though. Any other adaptations (book or movie) I should look at? I’ve already added the S&S comic book to my Amazon wish list, so hopefully that will come into my possession soon.
For my next book—maybe Persuasion? And I think after that I’ll do the Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
I’d just like to take a moment to congratulate Jane Austen on being awesome.
ALL THE CLAPS FOR JANE
(And next year will be 200 years! Amazing! Fantastic!)