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BBC's Persuasion
28-Jan-2008 -

BBC Video brings to DVD Simon Burke's stunning adaptation of Jane Austen's final novel...
Jane Austen fans will delight in the sumptuous production design and first-rate acting in the 2007 Masterpiece Theatre version of Persuasion. Much of the reason as to why this version of Persuasion works well lies with its talented cast. Rupert Penry-Jones, for instance, tackles the role of Captain Wentworth with skill, and Sally Hawkins too gives a performance to be admired. Backed by a primarily good supporting cast, the romantic drama is both watchable and engaging.
Other highlights include a post-Buffy Anthony Head, as Anne's clueless, blustery father, Sir Walter. Head gets to turn on his deft comic talent here in ways most American audiences have not yet seen him; he's clearly enjoying himself immensely, blustering about "my shrubberies" and other trivial affairs. The cinematography is lush (several breathtaking tracking shots are used, especially early on), as are the period costumes. The production was filmed exclusively on location, and the reality of the sets enforces the story.
Some fans may prefer the 1995 Amanda Root version, for the casting of Ciaran Hinds as Capt. Wentworth, but this later effort is a worthy entry in the Austen film oeuvre--and Rupert Penry-Jones is a dreamboat in his own right. As the wistful Anne says, on behalf of all women, "We do not forget you, so soon as you forget us." Diligently directed and suitably lavish to look at, Persuasion then shows little sign of dampening the enthusiasm for bringing Austen to screens of all sizes. And on the basis of the charming 93 minutes on offer here, that’s no bad thing at all.
The music.
The beautiful and sometimes almost classical music is by British composer Martin Phipps. Maybe a release of the score in the future? It's more than worth it..!
The DVD is available from the BBC America Shop.

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