Is there anything better than watching a favourite book being adapted to the TV screen? The numerous adaptations made from Jane Austen's books and the numerous fans that watch them and keep asking for more seem to confirm that there is, indeed, nothing better. At least for Austen fans!
In 1995 the BBC adapted Persuasion to the screen. Starring Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds, it was directed by Roger Michell and the screenwriter was Nick Dear.
This Persuasion is a brilliant adaptation of Austen's story. The story of Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wenworth who meet again after 8 years apart. In the past they fell in love but Anne eventually refuses Wentworth, influenced by her family (especially by her family friend, Lady Russell). She hasn't forgotten him, however.
The confusion and mix of feelings experienced by Anne Elliott when she first sees Captain Wentworth again is clearly reflected in Amanda Root's face and manner. Ciaran Hinds keeps us in suspense, for a while, on whether his Captain Wentworth has forgotten Anne or not.
Every look and gesture has a meaning with these two, they speak as much with their eyes, if not more, as with their mouths. We follow Anne as she realises she loves Wentworth still and we suffer with her when she believes her cause to be lost. When a ray of hope shines we can't help waiting eagerly for that moment when she will finally be able to say yes.
Then it is a very interesting movie, there's a lot of attention to detail and I notice that everytime I watch it I find some little thing I had missed earlier. A first viewing left me mesmerised with Anne and Frederick, later viewings allowed me to enjoy the secondary characters more. It might not be the kind of movie that we immediately love on first viewing - because it's a demanding movie, slow, intense and emotional - but it is certainly one I've enjoyed more each time I watched it!