When Netflix first released the trailer for their adaptation of Jane Auten’s novel Persuasion many eyebrows were raised.
But for those holding their breath hoping that Netflix would serve up a cool and truly modern take on a literary classic, if these reviews are anything to by, it appears that the streaming giants have painted a rather sorry portrait of what viewers can expect.
Though Netflix had obviously tried to align the film with the original novel, as per The Telegraph, the drama has been “not just ruthlessly Netflixed but ingratiatingly Fleabagged,” with dialogue that “perpetrates five war crimes per minute.”
Meanwhile, Financial Times has asked to “rebuild the fourth wall!” in response to the film’s “near incessant” asides to the camera.
The Evening Standard has even gone as far as to repeatedly note the overall embarrassment of the whole production, writing: “This Netflix adaptation of the Jane Austen novel wants to be seen as wet-your-knickers funny. Oh dear. You need only take precautions if your bladder is loosened by cringing.”
Los Angeles Times has claimed that Netflix’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion “appears to have lifted sentences from the novel and fed them through some kind of Instagram-filtering, catchphrase-generating, text-summarizing idiot bot.”
Other critics have also relentlessly compared the film to Netflix’s own hit period drama series Bridgerton, and not positively. As per Inews: “It has none of the sex and fleshy exuberance, nor the outlandish costumes, preferring instead a low-key look of genteel poverty and a focus on domestic life.”
The film has also faced backlash for profoundly misunderstanding its source material.
We’re not saying that the people who made Netflix’s #Persuasion can’t read, we’re just saying that they clearly haven’t read Jane Austen’s Persuasion. @LacyMB explains: https://t.co/heikhv1RKL pic.twitter.com/oxbWOVgxv0
— Paste Magazine (@PasteMagazine) July 8, 2022
According to Slash Film, “where Austen’s Persuasion was a sombre, melancholic story that’s less about the heart-fluttering romance than it is about a woman’s reassertion of her self-worth, [Carrie] Cracknell’s Persuasion, is a quirky rom-com that is loaded with scenes of Dakota Johnson chugging giant glasses of wine and characters spouting lines like, ‘It’s often said if you’re a 5 in London, you’re a 10 in Bath.'”
Sharing similar thoughts was The Independent, which wrote: “At no point during Carrie Cracknell’s directorial debut do you ever get the sense that anyone’s actually read Persuasion.”
I pray that Netflix never touch a Brontë story. Seeing my favourite Jane Austen book Persuasion being brutalised haunts me enough.
— ヽ(=ーωー=)丿???? & ???? (@sarah_208) July 5, 2022
With such a strong cast and crew backing the film, Persuasion should have performed better than what critics are saying. But unfortunately, for Netflix, who may be looking to capitalise on the major success of Bridgerton, the public’s poor reaction to their latest adaptation has now branded the film “the worst Jane Austen adaptation” of all time.