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Review: Persuasion (2022 Film)

Release Date: July 15, 2022 (Netflix
Starring:  Dakota Johnson, Cosmo Jarvis, Henry Golding,  Mia Mckenna-Bruce, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Lydia Rose Bewley, Richard E. Grant, Yolanda Kettle amongst others.
Directed by Carrie Cracknell
Written by Ron Bass & Alice Victoria Winslow (and of course Jane Austen)
Rating:C. Just….no. The cinematography is delightful but the script…

I will start with the positive.  This film has amazing cinematography.  The locations look amazing, I enjoy the costumes, though I’m not always sure its not anachronistic at times.  The actors all appear to be talented, although not always fit for the part they play. I love the fact that this film is not a bunch of white people.

Now for the not so positive.  This film was not Persuasion.  Dakota Johnson did a great job with Anne – just not Anne Elliot.  Anne Elliot is one of the more reserved of Austen’s heroines, not unlike Elinor Dashwood.  She keeps to herself, has a sense of decorum, and a loving nature. This Anne is judgmental of her family, blurts things out that original Anne would be mortified by,  and overall is a lot less put together.

Mary is a more aggravating version of herself and mentions things that wouldn’t be terms for about a hundred years.  No one in the 1810s would be calling themselves an empath or talking about their doctor telling them to do gratitude lists.  Psychology wasn’t really a developed science yet.  I always saw Mary as a hypochondriac more then a narcissist, but I will let them go with that. The actress did a fine job with it.

I haven’t seen Cosmo Jarvis in anything, but this was definitely not the part for him.  His Wentworth seemed frankly colorless, as if he could easily be substituted by another character.

Lady Russell was a lot more…liberal I would say then her book counterpart, but by far the most like her book persona then the three above. The other characters more ore less seem to be similar to their book personas with a tweak here or there.  But the weird instances of modern sensibilities and slang still throw me off.  And what happened to Harville’s disability?

Persuasion happens to be my favorite novel of Austen’s, and I’ve watched pretty much any film adaptation I come across.  I even read various adaptations of the novel, some of which are even modern adaptions.  The main point of an adaption is to keep the spirit of the book, to have the characters recognizable even if they are slightly different.  Frankly I feel that despite many of the events of the book happen in this film and its fairly accurate to that, the overall spirit of the film is…not Persuasion.

Mostly I blame the script.  Their attempt to make things seem more relatable has them using terminology and slang that wouldn’t be in vogue for centuries.  How somehow they managed to write a scene involving both “You must retrench” and “If you are a 5 in London, you are a 10 in Bath” boggles my mind. If they had wanted to do a modern adaptation, they could have done so. Many people have and I still would have watched it. But they kept it in the period and then expected us to not cringe when famous lines are butchered by modern slang and sentiment (“We are worse then strangers – we are exes” for example).

Honestly, I can only hope that this film makes people more curious about Austen, and that they will read Persuasion or watch one of the much better adaptations (personally I like the Sally Hawkins one) and find out the real character of Anne, Frederick and the others.

book reviews · bookit

Movie Review: Jumanji 2: Welcome to the Jungle

Title: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Release Date: December 20 2017
Genre: Action/Adventure & Comedy
Rating: PG-13
Director: Steve Beck

I saw this via Amazon as it has just recently been put on DVD/Blu-ray & Digital.   Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel to the 1995 film Jumanji starring Robin Williams.

This film has a great cast to draw you in.  I wanted to see it for Karen Gillan, who I know mostly from Doctor Who but who is also in the MCU as Gamora’s sister Nebula.  Dwayne Johnson leads the cast that includes comedy headliners Jack Black and Kevin Hart.  Nick Jonas makes an unexpected (for me anyway) appearance in the movie.  Also making a brief appearance is Colin Hanks, the son of one of my favorite actors, Tom Hanks.  He wasn’t in the film long enough to showcase if he has inherited the talent, but I’ve been seeing him on things a lot more, so it seems we will have the chance to see.

The two films are not very similar.  There is a jungle theme to the game, but outside a reference to Alan Parrish (RObin William’s character in the 1995 film) and the outside of the game packaging, the stories seem completely different.  In the sequel, the game has updated itself to be a video game to interact with 1996 Alex.  Later in modern days (possibly 2016 or 2017), four students in detention end up sucked into the game like Alan had been, and later Alex.

I have to admit there was a part of this that started to sound like someone was making a mash-up of the Breakfast Club and Jumanji rather than a true sequel.  Which I still had an impression of at the end of the story.  It was funny, and the movie wasn’t as horrible as I thought it could have been during the trailers.  I just feel like for a sequel it really has very little to do with its predecessor. There doesn’t seem to be enough connections.  That being said, when I looked up the novel that the movie was based on there was mention of an animated TV show based on the same idea, and it seems to have some of the same concepts.

I also learned that the children’s book Jumanji had a sequel called Zathura, which was also made into a movie and I plan on watching it sometime this year.

My final grade for Jumanji 2 is a B-.  I feel like it missed a few beats and should have had more continuity within the Jumanji universe.

book reviews · bookit

Bookit Review: The Last in Love

Title: The Last in Love  (Book 5 in the Ardent Springs series)

Author: Terri Osburn
Release date: 2017
Medium:  E-book (Kindle Unlimited)

My grade:  B

I believe this is the last book in the series, though the end of it hints that if the author could make it a six book series if she wanted to.  This one focuses on Abby Williams, a widow of two years who ends up falling for a man five years younger than her – and someone she used to babysit back in high school. Justin Donovan is recently home after having lost his job, his fiancée and best friend. Both Abby and Justin have some issues to work through.

The book in general is good.  The pacing is a little off, but not so much that it really bothered me.  It was a nice lazy morning read.  Some of the accessory characters (such as Justin’s former fiancée and best friend) are a bit flat as well.  It did well to tie up some loose ends from previous books in the series, as well as tie up overall arcs (such as the Ruby Theater, and Carrie’s women’s shelter).

I did like the theme of women discovering themselves, and building each other up.  Other then Victoria, most of the women in this novel are friends or at least friendly towards each other.  Sometimes when you pick up novels (and definitely tv shows) there is this inclination to make cat fights or have a love triangle where the two women don’t get along because they are fighting over a guy.  This novel stays free of that for the most part.

So if you enjoy low-key romances, I can recommend this book.  Terri Osburn in general is a good author and I have enjoyed both the series that I have read from her.  Many of her novels are available on Kindle Unlimited if you subscribe to that service.