Prayer Focus
Movie Review


MPAA Rating: PG for brief mild language

Reviewed by: John Butler

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Older Teens Adults
Romance Drama
1 hr. 47 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 27, 1995
Box art for “Persuasion”
Relevant Issues
Jane Austen related films

Mansfield Park” (1999)

“Pride and Prejudice” (2000)

“Pride and Prejudice” (2005)

Bride and Prejudice” (2005)

Becoming Jane” (2007)

Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001)

About love

Couple in love. Photo copyrighted
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Starring: Amanda Root, Ciarán Hinds, Sophie Thompson, Corin Redgrave, Fiona Shaw, Samuel West | Director: Roger Michell | Producers: BBC Films, Millésime Productions, WGBH, France 2 (FR2), Fiona Finlay, Rebecca Eaton, George Faber, Margot Hayhoe | Screenwriter: Nick Dear, based on a novel by Jane Austen | Released By: Sony Pictures Classics (U.S.)

From the recent Jane Austen revival, this underrated adaptation may be its best product.

Anne Eliot is an atypical Austen heroine, more like an older Fanny Price (“Mansfield Park”), and maybe Austen herself. The middle daughter of a proud baronet, Anne was persuaded to refuse an offer of marriage from Frederick Wentworth, a sailor, eight years before we join her story. Had she the benefit of hindsight, she probably would have accepted, but her mentor, Lady Russell, prevailed. As it is, Anne is the ignored, half-consciously snubbed daughter in a proud family. Now a rich captain, the jilted Wentworth has returned to her small corner of the world looking for a wife, fixing on the young and pretty in-laws of Anne’s sister.

Through the events that follow, Anne gets plenty of food for thought in seeing some directions that her life could have gone. She meets a sailor who had put off his marriage for lack of money, only for his beloved to meet an untimely death. He now spends his time drunk with despair, wallowing in Lord Byron’s poetry. Frederick’s sister, the wife of an admiral, has sailed the high seas with her husband, never feeling ill or endangered. Anne’s own life has seen the harsh realities of a life which seldom offers second chances. Nevertheless, she has it in her to rebuff an “advantageous” match, knowing full well the cost.

As suggested by the title, persuasion is the chief enemy, constancy the chief virtue. The considerations which threaten constancy—money, rank, and immoderate affection—are shown to be shallow values. God does not show favoritism, nor should we (James 2:1). Jane Austen had an acute sense for true and false virtue and is in peak form here.

There are a few d**n’s and a mildly shocking accident.

Viewer Comments
Positive—Having seen this film several times, I’ve concluded that it’s best seen after reading the book. Without the author’s presense, the movie is highly confusing and leaves many loose ends. Morally, it’s sound, but I would have liked knowing some of the motivations between scenes that are given to us in brief hints… such as the truth behind Mr. Eliott’s momentary “secret meetings” with another member of the household. It’s not quite as good as “Emma,” but will cater to please most Austen fans.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Charity, age 19
Positive—This is one of my favorite movies. It’s gentle, funny, and there’s a happy ending. It is almost faithful to the written work, and a sweet love story—I’m a sap for ’em! The only real offense I got from it was a slight production error that my mother pointed out to me, where the main character Anne is wearing one outfit when she enters a friend’s house and a different one on her way out. I do believe it’s a bit heavy on the characterization in places—Anne is almost a Cinderella figure at times, and her father is comical in his vanity. However, the rest of the characters are identifiable without being caricatures. The story is pretty basic, but the portrayal of it is the best. Anne shows a little weakness in bending to Lady Russell’s will at 19, but grows into strength of character by 27 and is mature enough to accept advice, but not be ruled by it. The things that really made the movie for me were the little things…
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Amanda, age 26