Netflix is offering subscribers a new original movie to watch this weekend, but in a routine that’s becoming incredibly predictable right now, it looks to be another abomination that’s already being ripped apart by critics.
Persuasion is the latest Netflix original movie that seems poised to fail, at least in terms of its critical reception, the movie could still be a hit in terms of ratings.
At first glance, Persuasion seems to have plenty of money with a frothy trailer and a likable star. But like many recent Netflix movies, it feels like the final product hasn’t quite come together.
What is Persuasion?
Persuasion is a romantic drama based on Jane Austen’s classic novel of the same name. While the book has seen several TV adaptations over the years, this Netflix film is the first time it has been turned into a feature film.
The film stars Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliott, a woman who does not conform to modern sensibilities. Due to her family’s financial difficulties, they are forced to cut back on their expenses and take the drastic step of renting their luxurious home, Kellynch Hall, to an admiral and his wife.
This leads to Captain Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis) returning to Anne’s life. The two have a complicated past as they were once engaged before Anne was persuaded by her friends and family to break it off. Now that she is given a second chance at love, she must decide to put the past behind her or listen to her heart.
However, the situation becomes even more complicated when Anne catches the interest of William Elliot (Henry Golding) and a love triangle forms between the three.
This take on Austen’s beloved story is still a period piece, but given a few modern touches. For starters, Anne often breaks the fourth wall to monologue directly to the audience (described as “Fleabag” in one review). Additionally, much of the dialogue has been tweaked to make it a bit more relevant.
What are critics saying about Persuasion?
Persuasion was released on Netflix just today (Friday, July 15), but the word from critics hasn’t been complimentary so far. On Rotten tomatoes (opens in new tab) the movie has a very poor rating of 33% which suggests that this is another Netflix movie that failed to hit the mark.
Her Deborah Ross The viewer (opens in new tab) he scathingly wrote: “This isn’t one of those movies that’s so bad it’s good. Instead, it’s so bad it’s boring. It could be the longest hour and 49 minutes of your life.”
The New York Times (opens in new tab)Teo Bugbee criticized the film’s attempt to be both an accurate adaptation of Austen’s original work while also trying to appeal to a modern audience: “The contrast between the modernized dialogue and Austen’s period-appropriate language makes both styles they look softer.”
Justin Chang’s The Los Angeles Times had similar problems with the film, saying “[Persusasion] seems to have lifted sentences from the novel and fed them through some kind of stupid Instagram-filtering, phrasing, and text-summarizing bot.”
But not all of his reviews have been entirely negative, Johnson’s performance has earned some praise. And his Audie Henderson The Boston Globe he claimed: “The solid cast cement over the most obvious cracks in history.” However, the general consensus seems to be that Persuasion is a bit of a misnomer.
Analysis: Netflix needs to change something
Netflix is on a real quality cold streak right now when it comes to original movies. From Spiderhead to The Man from Toronto, Senior Year to The Bubble, Interceptor to 365 Days: These days, the list of duds seems to grow every week.
While the steady stream of disappointing new releases has led to some older acts in the service’s library getting some spotlight time — we’ll find any excuse to re-watch Mean Girls or Wanted — Netflix could really do with a hit. and so on.
The streamer’s next big release, The Gray Man, is just around the corner. The global action film stars Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling and is scheduled for release on July 22. Unfortunately, early whispers say that this movie is going to be another disappointment, which could be the tipping point for some subscribers.
2022 has been quite an upsetting year for Netflix, as the service posted its first quarterly drop in subscribers and also faces regular criticism over the alleged decline in quality of its original content. Another sensational film in the form of Persuasion isn’t going to help that perception.
While shows like Stranger Things and The Umbrella Academy continue to strike gold, there’s an argument to be made that outside of its megahits, Netflix is faltering. If Netflix wants to continue to rank on our list of the best streaming services, then we need to start seeing more consistent quality when it comes to original content, or its rivals could overtake it.
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