Adapted from Jane Austen’s novel, the rom-com is about Annie Elliot, who lives with her bumptious family. Her life takes a turn when she confronts her very dear former love interest, who she once let go of, after being persuaded by her family not to marry the gentlemen of his stature.
Regardless of whether you are a fan of the original piece of work from Jane Austen, one would simply have a hard time enjoying this movie. It attempts in representing the elitist English society of the upper-class wealthy stature filled with sophisticated antics to the point it becomes difficult to relate to the characters. All the conversations seem bound to the same trajectory as they try too hard to sound unrealistically ‘classy’ as characters always remain stiff, never natural. They are more susceptible to sounding more like in-game NPC (non-playable characters) behavior than anything else. And in the heart of all this, our lead Annie Elliot remains the purest with a modern outlook towards life, as she fails in readjusting to her life after letting the love of his life, Frederick Wentworth, go away from her life.
It is fairly obvious why the writing attempts to portray Annie as an angel figure, yet the movie doesn’t conceal its intentions well enough for it to remain subtle. The narrative the movie uses aims on making the audience a member of the conversation as Annie constantly breaks the third wall to talk. This turns out to be a somewhat decent decision as we get to know about the characters more than what is shown on the screen and understand the reasoning behind her thoughts as she deals with different situations involving different characters, unfortunately for the movie, there is not much to look forward towards the side roles as none of them remain likable enough to care.
The adapted screenplay and writing on the other hand don’t do well either. It has severe pacing issues when it comes to what’s happening on the screen. There is simply a lot of stuff going on in a quick time, yet when it comes to the real deal of events, they are uninteresting enough to feel like forever. The amount of time it devotes to building on certain feelings among the characters is certainly slow, but it rushes itself as it draws closer to the final act. There are also a lot of plot conveniences to make the story fall in place somehow so that one can predict the course of action it has to offer if put together the pieces.
Dakota Johnson as Annie Elliot is decent in her role. There are traits of her character that are changed from the novel, but she manages to not make it more difficult for the audience as she remains the only dim light in the sad adaptation of one of the classics. Cosmo Jarvis as Wentworth delivers an average performance in his role. He fails to form the chemistry with Dakota to create palpable tension in the situation and the story required. Their underwhelming chemistry fails to form the core of the premise, as something feels just off about them.
In conclusion, the movie tries too hard as it pushes on certain elements that make it fair to categorize it as cringeworthy. With unforgiving writing and screenplay, it is best to pass this one.
Final Score – [4/10]
Reviewed by - Devyansh Anand
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