When we first reported the development of this film in 2018, it engendered a bit of discussion about a perplexing problem with modern adaptations of Persuasion: why would a 21st-century woman feel obligated to give up on a relationship as Anne Elliot did in the novel, as a modern woman has more choices than a woman of the early 19th-century gentry? Could an adaptation of the novel succeed when the rather large stakes of marriage and relationships are removed in our more relaxed culture?
Gentle Readers! Remember the tidbit about a modern-set adaptation of Persuasion (creatively called Modern Persuasion) starring Alicia Witt being in pre-production? The idea of it engendered a bit of interesting discussion online, mainly around the question of whether the central theme of Persuasion–that is, giving up love for duty–could be satisfactorily rendered for 21st century audiences. Well, whether we think it can be or not, someone’s tried it. The film actually was, er, filmed, and will be released on digital next month! It’s got a trailer and everything!
Of course we’ll watch it, though to be honest it strikes us as maybe a trifle above the vaguely Austen-themed Hallmark Christmas movies that Deborah Yaffe mocks so amusingly, but we will withhold judgment till we see it. December is the time of year that we crave fluff and feel-good, and maybe even middling JAFF (along with new episodes of The Crown and The Mandalorian) will tide us over till spring training starts.
Not one but two modern-set film adaptations/fanfic based on/inspired by Persuasion are in progress. Now, we want to be clear about our opinion of filming fanfic:
This is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, Clueless is fan fiction, right? As are Bride and Prejudice and The Jane Austen Book Club, both of which we love. (Seriously, how h*cking adorable is Hugh Dancy in TJABC? Really h*cking adorable, that’s how much.)