Dakota Johnson stars in a new Netflix original movie that premieres next month, but the film is already getting some criticism. It is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s latest novel, Persuasion – a lauded depiction of life, love, loss and the weary march of time. For some fans, the trailer for the new film adaptation is a little too excited.
Persuasion it was written in 1816 and published in 1817 – the year Austen died. As many fans have pointed out, this was a very difficult time in Austen’s life, and the book reflects that. The trailer, on the other hand, sets the tone of a romantic comedy with more levity than fans expected. Many felt this was more than a maladaptation, it was a symptom of low literacy and cultural disinterest in difficult topics.
Persuasion was adapted for the screen by writers Alice Victoria Winslow and Ronald Bass, and was directed by Carrie Cracknell. In addition to Johnson, it stars Cosmo Jarvis, Henry Golding, Richard E. Grant, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Suki Waterhouse, Ben Bailey, Izuka Hoyle, Mia McKenna-Bruce, Nia Towle, Edward Bluemel, Lydia Rose Bewley and Yolanda Kettle.
The movie will be released on Netflix on Friday, July 15th, but as you’ll see below, many people have already promised not to watch it. See responses to Netflix Persuasion adaptation so far.
I just don’t understand why we’re doing this fourth wall with Persuasion when Northanger Abbey is right there and severely under-adapted compared to Austen’s other works?
— nel (father) (god?) (@nelscorner) June 14, 2022
you should have to defend your script to a doctoral board before they let you film persuasion https://t.co/wxU22pBEH8
– miquella defender (@zenyanna) June 14, 2022
I think writers should write whatever they want, but whoever wrote that needs to be sent to a penal colony for life. pic.twitter.com/Q17sAsLEpJ
— Brandon (@blgtylr) June 14, 2022
Finally, many critics said they would have been fine with a period piece with all the quirks of this trailer if it hadn’t been called Persuasion. Many felt that these experimental ideas should have been reserved for something less loved.
Raise your hand if you feel personally victimized by the new Persuasion trailer pic.twitter.com/8Y3ZTqoc68
— Nirali 🧡🤍💗 (@firewordsparklr) June 14, 2022
The Bridgertonification of Persuasion is a loss for sad girls everywhere.
— fran (@galacticidiots) June 15, 2022
Many critics laughed at themselves and the rest of social media for the speed and ferocity of their response. They asked each other to be thoughtful in their criticisms, as many want to see romance writing in general taken more seriously.
‘A Modern Approach’
So what you’re saying is that because the director explained the rewriting of the main character and most famous lines as completely “a modern approach”, don’t people have the right to have and share their opinions? Huh… pic.twitter.com/kfGe8nuwnf
— Wilde Renata (@milhopan) June 14, 2022
As some have pointed out, Cracknell said from the start that this was intended to be a “modern take” on Persuasion. However, critics felt that such an approach should still have retained the tones and themes of the source material.
I will do the same, I hope the trailer is a poor representation of the movie.
And YES, the Ciaran Hinds version is amazing. I loved the realism in it.
—Ben Randall (@BenRandall) June 21, 2022
The change in tone of the book worries me a bit, I’m not sure about breaking the 4th wall (Anne is really introverted so maybe it’s an advantage to convey emotions but it feels too light) Persuasion is more nostlagique, mature… I’ll try , but not optimistic.
— Kamash_Bookworm (@BookwormKamash) June 14, 2022
Many critics have admitted that they still plan on watching this movie and hope the trailer doesn’t do it justice.
Yea! ‘Exs’ sounded to me as if she had said ‘bitcoin’ totally out of place and far from the beautiful description Austen had written.
– J’Wren (@JenneyD) June 14, 2022
Before long, users were placing quotes from the trailer alongside passages from Austen’s novel. Many were horrified by the difference.
Netflix can fuck this Bridgertonification of Persuasion. This isn’t supposed to be a fun, romantic banter – it’s about the tragedy of succumbing to societal pressures instead of doing what’s best for yourself. Take Dakota Johnson out of my Jane Austen, please.
— Abolish the Police (Sting, we’re cool) (@420AttyChicago) June 14, 2022
It seems they removed the most interesting part of Jane Austin’s stories: the social settings of the time and the women forced to navigate them. This looks like a modern teen drama in 18th century costumes. No thanks.
—Ben Randall (@BenRandall) June 14, 2022
Several reviewers blamed this misreading of Austen’s novel on recent period pieces such as bridgerton that are intentionally not historically accurate. They felt that a work like this should have been more faithfully adapted to keep its vital messages intact.
Jane Austen wrote Persuasion towards the end of her life, when she was sick and living in poverty, with the kind of life she didn’t expect or plan for.
She, her mother and sister lost everything when Jane’s father died.
— Cate Eland (@RomancingNope) June 14, 2022
We don’t like women who are complicated or who have made mistakes to have happy endings. So we have to smooth out her complications and blame others for her mistakes – something Anne Elliot never did – to make her worthy of filming her own love story.
— Cate Eland (@RomancingNope) June 14, 2022
A viral Twitter thread by Cate Eland explained the situation Austen was in at the time. Persuasion it was written. It also helped shed light on why the shift in tone in this adaptation left many fans of Austen and the romance genre in general feeling mistreated.