I have been waiting, like the literature geek I am, for the airing of the complete Jane Austen on Masterpiece Theater. I was thrilled they were starting with Persuasion because it's one of my faves. I really, really, really wanted to like it. I like the actors they cast, and I was really looking forward to it. For about ten minutets after it aired last night, I was like, well, isn't that nice.
But upon further reflection and rewinding, I have to say I'm disappointed. My heart was wide open people. I wanted to like this. And as much as it is actually Persuasion, I do. But.
Anne Eliot looks into the camera too frickin much. At first I was charmed. Oh! Me? She's looking at me and allowing me to share in the story! I feel so...connected! But after the fifth or sixth time, I was annoyed. Stop looking at me and look at Captain Wentworth for god's sake. You've only been waiting nearly a decade to see him again. If used sparingly, I think this technique would've been a nice touch. But too much of it slaughtered the feeling of intimacy with the audience.
They also messed with two of my favorite scenes. When Anne is out for a walk with Wentworth and the others, she falls down and it looks like she goes on an LSD trip. Wentworth appears hovering over her in the vapor and then suddenly she sits up and he's gone. What could have been a moment of connection instead needs some Pepto Bismol.
And right after than, Wentworth's sister and hubby come along in a carriage and Captain W. asks them to take the injured Anne home. This shows us he still cares! But unless you already know the story, you totally miss it when he leans over and asks his sister to take care of Anne.
Then he throws her on the back of the buggy. There is none of that understated passion of him having to touch her to help her in the carriage. I mean, in the movie version of Pride and Prejudice, Darcy has to help Elizabeth into a carriage. After he walks away, we just get a close up of his hand flexing as a reaction to touching her. I swooned!
But oh no. Anne's a sack of potatoes he throws on the back of the carriage. They can't rip each other's clothes off people! It's Jane Austen! We only have those polite little moments to live off of instead of the slobbery movie kiss. Do not deprive me of them!
And when she finally accepts his proposal? They are finally together? The kiss looks like she's trying to reach up and bite his face off and he's not bending over to help her a bit. What is up with that! I'm totally a kiss scene fan and they might have redeemed my disappointment with a good kiss; they failed miserably!
Having said that, I would still watch it again. But I prefer the Ciaran Hinds/Amanda Root version if I have a choice. And as the owner of a copy, I do. And there are way too many exclamation points in this review.