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The film is adapted from Austen’s 1817 novel, which is generally regarded among the author’s best and saddest books.
Bailey Smith plays Charles Musgrove, a man once in love with Anne and now married to her sister Mary.
When the trailer for Persuasion was released last month, it received a hostile response from Austen traditionalists because of its perceived “Gen-Z-ification” of the writer’s work. Many were unimpressed with Anne’s Fleabag-esque habit of breaking the fourth wall, and the discordantly cheerful feel of the movie.
Responding to critics in a new interview with The Times, Bailey Smith said: “I couldn’t give two s***s about those people.
“They’re so joyless. What part of it is done in disrespect to Austen? Just enjoy it, and if you’re outraged there’s an amazing thing called free will – you utilise it, don’t watch it and go back and watch the 1981 whatever-the-f*** version you like.”
Reviews of the film have not been favourable. In a one-star review for The Independent, Clarisse Loughrey wrote: “At no point during Carrie Cracknell’s directorial debut do you ever get the sense that anyone’s actually read Persuasion.”
The movie is out now on Netflix.