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Modern Persuasion: This is a Pleasant if Disappointing Adaptation

Film review of Modern Persuasion. Alicia Witt stars in this contemporary rom-com adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

Official Synopsis

Modern Persuasion poster
Modern Persuasion. Image Credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films

A modern telling of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion.” Wren Cosgrove is a happy, single, and self-confessed workaholic who, after rising to the top of the corporate ladder, finds herself coming home every night to her cat.

When her firm is hired by Owen Jasper, “the man who got away,” long-lost feelings are stirred, giving Wren a second chance at true love. 

Modern Persuasion Review

Modern Persuasion poster

Despite poor ratings and reviews, I wanted to like this recent retelling of Persuasion. Unfortunately, not all stories fare well in the modern-day.

That being said, Modern Persuasion isn’t all bad. Alicia Witt works well as a likable rom-com lead. Bebe Neuwirth also excels as the Aunt who ‘persuaded’ Wren not to give up her career for a man, hence why Wren initially lost the love of her life.

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But he’s back, and just like in the original Persuasion, she has a second chance at love! Oh, and did I mention Wren’s adorable cat named Wentworth? 

If anything, I was surprised how closely this modernization follows the main plot points of the book. Even the depressed poet plays a considerable part.

A Modern Adaptation – Literally

Nevertheless, the screenplay fails to capture the heart of Jane Austen even if it’s ‘mostly’ pleasant to watch. Instead, the film focuses on ‘cleverly’ transforming the story into a contemporary mess.

Indeed, the film is so ‘modern’ that all the secondary characters are abysmal. I scratched my head in wonder that Wren would purposely associate with such immature, unlikeable, and shallow coworkers.

Honestly, I don’t see many of the Austen fanbase appreciating the modernism. It was just so over the top. Still, Alicia Witt’s outfits are gorgeous! So, props for utilizing a low budget well.

The Romance

As for the romance, it’s fine. However, Shane McRae fails to embody the essence of Jane Austen’s Wentworth. Rather, Owen is bland from start to finish, never capturing that special something you need in a romantic leading man. Nor do the two actors have much chemistry.

Overall Thoughts

While I am perhaps overly harsh, I still think Modern Persuasion is worth watching if you like checking out all Jane Austen adaptations. Watch when you’re in the mood for fluff escapism. 

Content Note: 13+

Have you watched Modern Persuasion? What did you think of this contemporary take on Jane Austen’s novel? Leave a comment below!

Two and a half corsets rating
Three Vintage Hearts Rating

Modern Persuasion film review - pinterest image


By on February 4th, 2021

About Autumn Topping

In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely blog and works as a YA Librarian.

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1 thought on “Modern Persuasion: This is a Pleasant if Disappointing Adaptation”

  1. I agree with you completely, I thought that there was no chemistry between the central pair. They were limp and unappealing and lacked the spark that Austen’s couples have even when they aren’t getting along. Mark Moses and Adrienne C. Moore made a much better job of their relationship. They should have been the stars. That was all far more delightful and interesting.


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