Arm Persuasion† Try as anyone could, adjustments of Jane Austen‘s latest novel tend to leave fans unsatisfied. Based on the strong response to the trailerIt looks like Netflix’s latest attempt may meet the same fate, though director Carrie Cracknell hopes you’ll at least give the full movie a shot before passing judgment.
In a new interview with IndieWireshe admits the response was “bruises,” but adds diplomatically, “I think people have a very deep sense of ownership over Austen and, quite rightly, have a very strong connection to the book.”
Protection of the source material certainly played a part in the outrage over the trailer. It wasn’t just Dakota Johnson‘s flea bag-ish asides to the camera or the anachronisms (“Now we’re worse than exes”). It’s the emphasis on humor that fans didn’t see in Austen’s most mature, understated work.
And yet… that’s exactly the element Cracknell decided to play in her adaptation. “It’s very important to me that the film contains the mature desire, the heartache and the complexity of Anne’s journey, and I tried to calibrate that very carefully and find this slightly more anarchic, comedic energy,” she says. “I suspect the trailer may be leaning more towards that comedic quality in the film. So I’d really encourage people to watch the movie and then there’s going to be a really interesting conversation about what elements of the book’s essence we’ve kept in the adaptation and where we’ve been a little bit more iconoclastic.
Ultimately, the director hopes the film portrays “the fear we have of the life passing by and the depth of longing when things happen around you and not the way you want them to happen,” but imbued with a “kind of a little more comical, kind of a stronger tone.”
Fans will likely have a lot to say about whether this translates into a satisfying adaptation of Persuasion when everything is over.