Based on Jane Austen’s book, Overwhelming Romance is one of the underrated movies in the Netflix library
Freedom was always a rather subjective concept in the early 19th century Technological limitations; formal instruction limited to people of means who could spend a lot of money on it; distances, even more impressive for one reason or another, almost always overcome only by the luckiest or by those with a taste for adventure in their souls, all these were factors that, mixed with a certain genetic condition, made isolation a challenge. limit that those people – and especially the women – had to deal with. Published in 1816, the novel “Persuasion” (1816) marks the end of the trilogy that began with “Sense and Sensibility” (1811), with which the British Jane Austen begins the saga, in which she speaks of love as opposed to more urgent basic calls in life; “Pride and Prejudice” (1813) follows in the same vein, speculating about the honor of a once influential family, but in serious financial trouble, whose only major chance to change their fate lies in the arranged marriage of the eldest daughter and a wealthy one. man who apparently wants her but can’t shake the shadow of the virgin’s overprotective mother. “Persuasion” marks the end of Austen’s literary work and life, who dies on July 18, 1817, aged 42, a victim of Addison’s disease, an autoimmune disease unknown two hundred years ago. “Sanditon” remains unfinished, with Austen confirming her penchant for scrutinizing the pettiness of the old English bourgeoisie, something she did like no one else.
The author was one of the artists who best portrayed this dark side of the society in which she lived, giving rise to a voluminous, scathing narrative, uniform in its perfection over the course of three books, published in very well-defined spaces in time , an aspect that is taken for granted by the production of someone who wrote as he breathed, fluid, organic, absorbing words and ideas and made his readers also gain access to this magical place that only great art opens up for humanity. Austen’s greatest asset, however, was to have managed to overcome supposed barriers between one artistic manifestation and another, unfolding over the years, maintaining an interest in the book while her stories became unruly of the material peace of literature. Adapted for the first time for the cinema almost thirty years ago, in 2022 “Persuasion” comes to life from the hands of Carrie Cracknell, who made a career in the theater and now shows excellent filmmaking. The intersection between her original craft and the new medium she embraces is obvious, starting with the ability to have the protagonist speak directly to the camera, a resource used extensively in the theater. Tearing down the fourth wall is undoubtedly a device that brings audience and actors together – perhaps too close – but Cracknell is clever in using it, interspersing these individual contributions with long passages of Austen’s lavish text, written by newcomer Alice Victoria Winslow and veteran Ron Bas. Although compared to the fantastic version by Roger Michell (1956-2021), brought to the screen in 1995, the quality of the most current retelling stands out, with the caveat that Cracknell, knowingly or not, welcomes “Persuasion” as an example of modernity whose audacious premise – and the fearlessness of the privileged mind from which it came – could not be mere decoration.
Dakota Johnson embodies an Anne Elliot that almost jumps from the beginning of the century before the end to today. The strength of the character and the production itself lies largely in its aesthetic appeal. Marianne Agertoft’s costumes, especially those that Johnson’s protagonist dresses in, are precisely this statement of intent for the archetype of the woman ahead of her time, and with some punctual adaptation would pass for ready-to-wear. hyped shops in modern London. Johnson defends his character equally supported by these breaths of creative freshness – from Cracknell, from Agertoft, from Winslow – and it is the same oxygen that this version of Austen’s classic is fueled by, without harming the essence of the original plot . , let it be said. What remains is the mature woman (by 1816 standards, of course), lost, tortured by decisions that are neither right nor wrong from a not-so-distant but distant past, winning by her own efforts despite being forced to to live with the possibility of spending the rest of their days spilling bottles of good wine in the vast room in wild chaos, on a cold, shabby bed, depending only on the loyalty of their pet rabbit. Until the man she got rid of and is still in love with after eight years shows up again.
Anne’s existential failure in her most private, most intimate sphere is given substance in the figure of Captain Frederick Wentworth, and thankfully Cracknell does not yield to the political correctness patrol, always ready to take justice into his own hands – even if it means rewriting History and even the stories – nor to vulgar feminism, and keeps the protagonist as what she really is: a strong woman from the shell out, but willing to all kinds of humiliation to regain the love of the man who period, , no longer loves, worships. Cosmo Jarvis, on the other hand, understands the greatness of the role and makes Wentworth a rough man, cut by the stormy sea, but truly noble, whose goodness forbids the slightest reference to small games of seduction that predict foolish revenge, also because the beautiful William Elliot’s dawn on Anne’s horizon , the distant and ambitious cousin of Henry Golding, can provoke a trinity of unfortunates.
Romance like it hasn’t been done in a long time, “Persuasion”, the book, finds a warm welcome again in the safe arms of Carrie Cracknell. Astoundingly unaffected for a production of this nature, the film is funny without being light-hearted, sophisticated without being pedantic, and very compelling. Deliciously convincing.
Direction: Carrie Cracknell