The first episode of PBS’s "The Complete Jane Austen" has just aired. They started with the novel Persuasion, which is one of my favorite Austen books.
Hmm, what to say about the adaptation. Overall it was a fairly decent production, but…and there are some huge BUTS:
- The ending was very odd and to be honest…a disaster! What’s with all the running around Bath? The Anne Marathon? What was the purpose of that? Were they simply trying to be different than other adaptations? Being different for the sake of being different is not good writing. There should be a point, and this Anne Marathon seemed silly and pointless, not to mention inappropriate for the time. Anne running around Bath…HA!
- How did invalid Harriet Smith manage to get out of her home and meet Anne on the streets at the beginning of the Anne Marathon? She’s an invalid and extremely poor, so how she managed to get across Bath is a mystery Jane Austen never would have been so stupid as to include.
- The Kiss at the end of the Anne Marathon was very breathy and strange.
- Captain Wentworth could NOT purphase Kellynch even if he wanted to…it’s entailed!
- Why did Anne’s conversation with Captain Harville about the fickleness of women vs. men bounce from the end of the story, where it is critical to the plot, to a plotless-meaningless-private conversation with Captain Benwick in the middle of the story?
Those are my major disappointments. But it also seemed rushed. That might be the fault of the edits mentioned in this post or that might be the fault of the script…probably both. This could/should have been a longer production. And there are a lot of characters in Persuasion and they really crammed them all in; more time would have better served the characters and the story.
Why did they have Anne looking straight at the camera so many times? And Anne’s looks are supposed to re-blossom during the story, but that was missing.
But, the settings, locations, costumes, and the beginning of the adaptation were very good. This Captain Wentworth was dishier than the 1995 Wentworth, but not a better actor.
I think I’ll watch this again to let it set in and sort of simmer about my thoughts. In the meantime, what did you think? Do share!