Dakota Johnson in Persuasion
Poor Persuasion. Try like everyone else, adaptations of Jane AustenThe latest novel tends to leave fans unsatisfied. Based on strong reaction in towit looks like Netflix’s latest attempt is destined for the same fate, though director Carrie Cracknell hopes you’ll at least give the full movie a chance before passing judgment.
In a new interview with IndieWireshe admits the backlash has been “bruising”, but diplomatically adds, “I think people have a very deep sense of belonging to Austen and rightly have a very strong sort of connection to the book.”
The protection of the source material was definitely at stake in the trailer’s outrage. It wasn’t just dakota johnsonit is Flea bag-esque asides to the camera or anachronisms (“Now we’re worse than exes”). It’s the emphasis on humor that fans haven’t seen present in Austen’s most mature and restrained work.
And yet… that’s exactly the element that Cracknell decided to play into his adaptation. “It’s really important to me that the film contains the longing and the grief and the complexity of Anne’s journey, and I tried to calibrate that very carefully, as well as finding that energy a little more anarchic and comedic,” she says. “I suspect the trailer may be leaning more towards that comedic quality of the film. So I would really encourage people to watch the movie, and then there’s going to be a really interesting conversation about what elements of the essence of the book we’ve retained in the adaptation and where we’ve been a bit more iconoclastic.
Ultimately, the director hopes the film depicts “the fear we have of life that overwhelms us and the depth of longing when things seem to happen around you and not the way you want them to happen”, but imbued with a “kind of a slightly more comedic, slightly louder tone.
Fans will likely have a lot to say about whether this translates into a satisfying adaptation of Persuasion when all is said and done.