Persuasion by Jane Austen: Reading the book and my thoughts on the Netflix film

Disclaimer: This is neither a book review nor a movie review. It’s more just my thoughts on reading the book for the first time and then watching the Netflix film right after and what I thought about the overall experience 🙂

Jane Austen’s fan club is not one to be messed with. I think Netflix should’ve really thought that through before deciding to create a modern, comedic version of one of the most beloved novels Jane Austen has written. Right after the movie was released, a lot of people were talking about how badly the script was written and how “cringe” the acting was. This was not reassuring.

Reading the book

I enjoy Jane Austen’s writing, but I have to admit that sometimes the plot is a little slow for me. This was true of Persuasion. It seemed like nothing really happened until the last half of the book. I enjoyed the beginning because settings and characters were being introduced. But then after a while, my mind kept wandering. But I was so determined to finish it so that I could watch the Netflix film as a reward. So I pushed through. I had faith in Jane Austen. And she came through … for about 5 seconds. Although the second half of the book was more interesting, it wasn’t by much. I feel like even for events that were more fast-paced and exciting, they fell a bit bland. I feel like the most exciting parts (as far as the writing) were the parts that showcased Anne Elliot’s inner monologue. She is witty and clever but also quiet in her demeanor. So I did really enjoy reading her thoughts and finding her relatable as a character.

So when I finally did finish the book (2 weeks later), I made some popcorn, got my pickle and sour patch kids, and got cozy to watch the Netflix film.

My thoughts on the movie

I quickly realized that all the people who said the movie was terrible and “did Jane Austen no justice” were lying and they completely missed the point. Yes, Jane Austen’s writing is incomparable when it comes to her most famous quotes, but it’s honestly so difficult to translate them into a movie without accidentally butchering it completely. I do think Netflix could’ve rewritten a little better to fit their more modern take on the novel. But I have to say. that they did a really good job with it. Dakota Johnson was the perfect Anne Elliot. I think she portrayed Anne’s personality well. The comedic touches also added to the story and made it more engaging for modern viewers. i feel like this novel in particular would’ve been difficult to do “by the book”. Since. alot of the more exciting parts of the novel (in my opinion) were Anne’s internal thoughts, this would’ve been difficult to portray while also keeping the viewers engaged. Internal thoughts are an excellent tool in writing, but movies and films are more dependant on action and dialogue. So it’s unfair to compare the two because they’re completely different formats.

Overall, I have to say I enjoyed the movie more than the book. I know huge Jane Austen fans will not agree. But even if you haven’t read the book, I think you will still enjoy the movie. It’s essentially a romcom set in the 1800s. I’m glad I watched the movie and read the book because I enjoyed them both for different reasons.

Let me know what you thought of Netflix’s Persusasion if you’ve seen it! Would love to know your thoughts 🙂

xx

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