Set in the 19th century, “Persuasion” is a romantic drama directed by Carrie Cracknell that follows Anne Elliot (Dakota Johnson), the heartbroken daughter of a wealthy nobleman. Seven years after breaking up with her lover, Frederick Wentworth, she is reunited with him by fate. Gradually, the former lovers try to reconcile and pursue other suitors.
Since the film deals with complex themes, as several characters represent different perspectives on love and romance, the audience must wonder if it is inspired by true events.
Is Persuasion a True Story?
No, “Persuasion” is not based on a true story. The movie is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel of the same name, which was first published in December 1817 and is one of her last novels completed before her death in July 1817. The book tells the story of a young noblewoman who rejects a marriage proposal from her lover. family councils due to his low social status. However, she is later forced to confront her feelings for the same man when they reunite years later.
Although a real event probably inspired the novel’s premise in Austen’s life. According to British literary scholar Gillian Beer, Austen’s niece Fanny Knight sought her advice on whether to accept or reject the proposal. The former felt that her advice to her niece was misguided and objective from her own point of view, and Fanny rejected the suitor and married another man. So the author was probably inspired to write a fictional story about forms of persuasion and their negative and positive effects on human communication.
The movie puts its characters in several difficult situations where they influence others or are influenced by someone. Austen’s writing blurs the lines between fair and unfair persuasion as the various characters attempt to make independent decisions about their romantic futures. The duality of courtship in 19th century England is highlighted in the novel through characters such as Captain Frederick Wentworth and William Elliot. Austen’s novel also deals with the consequences of persuasion, which forms the core of Anne’s story arc.
Like Austen’s other works, the novel also deals with themes such as feminism and social differences. The author comments on the courtships of the Georgian era and presents some progressive ideas about love and romance in a strict and orthodox society. Given the popularity of Austen’s works, it’s no surprise that director Carrie Cracknell turned the book into a movie.
Cracknell grew up a fan of the literary legend’s work and was drawn to making a feature movie based on “Persuasion” because the novel combines proto-feminism with the joys of romanticism. The filmmaker explained that the female characters struggle to find their place in society while pursuing a romance between several suitors whose true intentions or personalities are hard to reveal.
Ultimately, “Persuasion” is a fictional story that recreates the timeless literary brilliance of Jane Austen’s novel. It features an overtly romanticized narrative that deals with the title subject and explores his role in society. Although the film may skip over some of the nuances of Austen’s original novel, it is still a faithful rendition of the book. The film’s emotional conflicts, heartbreaks, and romantic tribulations resonate emotionally with modern audiences, proving the effectiveness of Austen’s work.