Our heroine Anne Elliot, still in her youth, hugs a handsome soldier in a field of wild grass overlooking the sea at the start of Netflix’s latest rendition of Persuasion, as lush, romantic strings play in the background. Except that Persuasion isn’t like other Jane Austen novels—and famed British theatre director Carrie Cracknell’s new take on the story begins right where you’d expect another Austen adaptation to stop. “I almost got married once,” Anne Elliot, Dakota Johnson’s protagonist, admits. “But he was a rank-and-file soldier, and I was persuaded to give him up.”
Jane Austen is one of the first names that comes to mind when thinking of high society and intricate romance in art. Her work has been the subject of numerous adaptations since the advent of film. This includes the 1940 film “Pride and Prejudice” starring Laurence Olivier, the 1995 film “Sense and Sensibility” directed by Ang Lee, and the recently released “Emma” starring Anya Taylor-Joy. “Persuasion,” an American film adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel of the same name, will be released on Netflix this summer. The first trailer for the film, adapted by Alice Victoria Winslow and Ron Bass and directed by British theatre director Carrie Cracknell, is now available to view.
Dakota Johnson, the star of this Austen adaption, may pique the interest of potential viewers. Johnson is no stranger to complicated romances, her breakout role being Anastasia Steele in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” film trilogy. Recently, the actress has moved on to more highly acclaimed and independent film roles, most recently in Cooper Raiff’s “Cha Cha Real Smooth.” Audiences may be interested in seeing Johnson return to steely romantic affairs, and “Persuasion” should be the type of film to satisfy that desire.
Persuasion, like any good Austen love story, depends on a romantic quandary. Anne’s first option is to rekindle the spark with her first great love, Captain Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis), whom she rejected at the age of 19 after her godmother convinced her that he wasn’t a good match owing to his low social rank. In order to reconnect, Frederick would have to overcome his resentments about how their previous engagement ended when he returned from the Napoleonic Wars as a military hero (and with a large wealth). All of that is called into question with the entrance of William Elliot (Henry Golding), a distant relative of Anne’s whose louche charm may be concealing more sinister ulterior purposes, since he is a direct heir to the family riches whose position may be jeopardised.
“Persuasion” debuts on Netflix on July 15 and stars Dakota Johnson, Cosmo Jarvis, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Mia McKenna-Bruce, Richard E. Grant, and Henry Golding. the most recent trailer is below.