Netflix is giving subscribers a new original movie to watch this weekend, but in a routine that’s becoming eerily predictable at this point, it appears to be another dud that’s already torn apart by critics.
Persuasion is the latest Netflix Original movie that looks set to fail, at least as far as its critical reception goes, the movie could still be a hit in terms of ratings.
At first glance, Persuasion seems to have a lot to do with a frothy trailer and a beloved star. But like so many recent Netflix movies, it looks like the final product isn’t quite there.
What is Persuasion about?
Persuasion is a romantic drama based on Jane Austen’s classic novel of the same name. While the book has seen numerous TV adaptations over the years, this Netflix film is the first time it’s been made into a feature film.
The film stars Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot, a woman who does not conform to modern sensibilities. Due to his family’s financial difficulties, they are forced to cut expenses and make the drastic decision to rent their lavish home, Kellynch Hall, to an Admiral and his wife.
This leads to Captain Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis) coming back into 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 given a second chance at love, she must decide between putting the past behind her or listening to her heart.
However, the situation becomes more complicated when Anne catches the eye of William Elliot (Henry Golding) and a sort of love triangle forms between the trio.
This version of Austen’s beloved tale is still a period piece, but given some modern touches. For starters, Anne frequently breaks the fourth wall to monologue directly to the audience (described as “Fleabag”-esque in one review). Also, much of the dialogue has been changed to make it a bit more current.
What are the reviews of Persuasion saying?
Persuasion only hit Netflix today (Friday, July 15), but critics’ words have been far from glowing so far. On rotten tomatoes (opens in a new tab) the movie scores a very poor 33%, which would suggest it’s another Netflix movie that misses the mark.
Deborah Ross from The spectator (opens in a new tab) was a scathing write-up: “This isn’t one of those movies that’s so bad it’s good. Instead, it’s so bad it’s boring. It may be the longest hour and 49 minutes of your life.
The New York Times (opens in a new tab)‘ Teo Bugbee criticized the film’s attempt to be both an accurate adaptation of Austen’s original work while trying to appeal to a modern audience: “The contrast between modernized dialogue and period-appropriate language d’Austen only makes both styles more mannered.”
Justin Chang from The Los Angeles Times had similar issues with the film, saying “[Persusasion] seems to have pulled sentences from the novel and fed them through some kind of silly bot filtering Instagram, generating taglines and summarizing text.
But not all of her reviews were entirely negative, Johnson’s performance deserved praise. And Odie Henderson from The Boston Globe argued: “Solid cast iron cements the most visible cracks in history. However, the general consensus seems to be that Persuasion is a bit of a miss.
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: On this day, the list of duds seems to grow every week.
While the constant stream of disappointing new releases has led to some older films in the service’s library getting some much-needed time in the spotlight – we’ll take any excuse to rewatch Mean Girls or Wanted – Netflix could really do with a success in good faith, and so on.
The streamer’s next big release, The Gray Man, is just around the corner. The globetrotting action flick stars Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling and is set for release on July 22. Sadly, early whispers indicate this movie is set to be another disappointment, which could be the breaking point for some subscribers.
2022 has been quite a bruising year for Netflix, with the service posting its first-ever quarter-over-quarter subscriber decline, and it also faces regular criticism over the perceived drop in quality of its original content. . Another disappointing movie in the form of Persuasion isn’t going to help that perception.
As 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 floundering. If Netflix is to continue to be on our list of the best streaming services, we need to start seeing more consistent quality when it comes to original content, otherwise its rivals may overtake it.