You Can’t Persuade Me to Like the New ‘Persuasion’

The yassified Jane Austen adaptation has already bombed online

If you thought NASA’s breathtaking new photos of our wildly expansive and glittery universe were enough to drive home our insignificant place in it, then you’ve never been on Twitter. It’s business as usual online, and this week’s main character is Netflix’s Persuasion adaptation, out this Friday, July 15.

People online are panning the film, starring Dakota Johnson in a lot of Fleabag-style breaking-the-fourth-wall narration,  for its chaotic anachronisms and winky writing. Lines like, “We’re worse than exes; we’re friends,” and “If you’re a five in London, you’re a 10 in Bath,” abound. Author and king of literary Twitter Brandon Tyler has a great thread that sums up the trailer’s most egregious horrors. “The man who wrote the Rain Main screenplay and an actress who wrote some short films wrote this movie and all I am saying is that they should know better,” he says.

Along with Johnson, the film stars Cosmo Jarvis, Henry Golding, and Richard E. Grant, and is directed by Carrie Cracknell. I haven’t watched much more than the trailer at the time of this writing, but that’s enough to know it’s a dud. Whereas Jane Austen’s Emma—a novel of youthful misunderstandings and pride—thrived in a modernized, playful adaptation in early 2020, Persuasion is a much more emo beast entirely. The novel opens on Anne Elliot’s broken engagement—people persuaded (get it?) her to dump her one true love—and is rife with angst, sorrow, regret, and tenderness toward that lost love. It is not, to quote the trailer, Austen’s “timeless love story.”

“Good luck to everyone involved,” Brandon Tyler wrote on Twitter. “Everyone who makes a movie deserves to be congratulated. Good job everyone.” But it’s pretty clear that the art of Persuasion-mockery has barely begun to flower online.

Instead of waxing on any longer, I’ll let the best of literary twitter speak for themselves:

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Katie Smith

Katie Smith is a Philadelphia-based writer. Find her on Instagram @saddy_yankee for cat pics.

One thought on “You Can’t Persuade Me to Like the New ‘Persuasion’

  • July 26, 2022 at 11:27 pm

    It’s something in Johnson’s acting that is off… it weirds the ph balance of the whole thing


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