Persuasion: Netflix viewers call out ‘cringey’ dialogue in new Jane Austen adaptation

Dakota Johnson’s lines in the film are infuriating Jane Austen fans

Jacob Stolworthy
Thursday 21 July 2022 06:28 BST
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Persuasion Trailer on Netflix

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Netflix’s new version of Persuasion is being called out for its “cringey” dialogue.

The film, which stars Dakota Johnson in the lead role of Anne, was released on the streaming service on Friday (15 July).

But, those who have seen the film, which is directed by Carrie Cracknell, are urging viewers to steer clear – and are highlighting specific lines of dialogue as evidence as to why they should do so.

In the film, Johnson’s character can be heard saying: “Now we’re worse than exes, we’re friends.” She also describes herself as “an empath” and, in one particular scene, states in reference to people’s looks: “It’s often said, ‘If you’re a five in London, you’re a 10 in Bath.’”

”Haven’t we as a society suffered enough!?!?!!” one Twitter user asked after viewing the film, with another writing: “Jane Austen crying shaking throwing up in her grave after Dakota Johnson said “now we’re worse than exes, we’re friends” in Persuasion on Netflix.”

One Austen fan added: “The thing everyone’s missing about Netflix Persuasion is that the dialogue would be cringey even if it was a modern romcom. It’s not me being an Austen purist, it’s just bad.”

The critical reception has been extremely frosty, also.

“The PERSUASION embargo is up so I can finally say that it is the worst Austen adaptation I have ever seen,” Bustle’s Morgan Leigh Davies wrote on Twitter. “Absolutely inexcusable. Abolish Netflix. Abolish Dakota Johnson.”

Meanwhile, The Independent’s film critic Clarisse Loughrey agreed that Johnson is “woefully miscast” in the film, adding that: ”At no point do you ever get the sense that anyone’s actually read Persuasion.

“For those with even the slightest affinity for Austen’s work, it’s vaguely mortifying to watch – seeing one of her most beautifully moulded protagonists, a sorrowful vessel hounded by the ghosts of lost love, stripped of her poetry and reduced to an Instagram caption about the pitfalls of millennial dating.”

Dakota Johnson in ‘Persuasion’
Dakota Johnson in ‘Persuasion’ (Netflix)

Loughrey gave the film one star, as did The Guardian’s Wendy Ide, who called the film “a travesty”.

The Telegraph critic Tim Robey, in his two-star review, said that Cracknell’s adaptation “comes with almost a total disregard for its supposed source material”.

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Brian Viner, writing for Daily Mail, called the film “torture” and “truly dreadful”. He added that the decision to repeatedly have Johnson’s Anne look to the camera to break the fourth wall shows a “wilful misunderstanding of the book”.

This adaptation of Persuasion was written Alice Victoria Winslow and Ron Bass. it co-stars Cosmo Jarvis, Nikki Amuka-Bird and Richard E Grant.

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