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Sales Rank: 1,787
Actors: Sally Hawkins, Alice Krige, Rupert Penry-Jones, Anthony Head, Julia Davis Director: Adrian Shergold Rating: Features: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD, Widescreen, NTSC Running Time: 93 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Release Date: January 15, 2008 Theatrical Release Date: 2007 Studio: BBC Warner
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Jane Austenâ€™s romantic masterpiece comes to DVD in a thrilling new production from the BBC and Masterpiece Theatre. Anne Elliot fell deeply in love with the handsome young naval officer Frederick Wentworth at the age of nineteen. But with neither fortune nor rank to recommend him, Anne was persuaded to break off her engagement. Eight years later, Anne has lived to regret her decision. She never stopped loving Wentworth, and when he returns from sea with a fortune and rank, she can only watch as every eligible young woman in the district falls at his feet.
Jane Austen fans will delight in the sumptuous production design and first-rate acting in the 2007 Masterpiece Theatre version of Persuasion. Sally Hawkins is controlled and moving as Anne Elliot, the quietly heartbroken but sensible heroine who was "persuaded" read: forced to turn away her true love but still carries an unseen torch for him. Hawkins's performance is genteel yet steely, and the quiet strength of the entire production. Hawkins looks alternately quietly lovely and sadly pinched--as one might expect the long frustrated Anne to look.
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." --A.T. Hurley