Persuasion star Ben Bailey Smith says he ‘couldn’t give two s***s’ about film’s critics

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Persuasion star Ben Bailey Smith says he ‘couldn’t give two s***s’ about film’s critics
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Persuasion actor Ben Bailey Smith has responded to critics of the new Jane Austen adaptation on Netflix.

The film is adapted from Austen’s 1817 novel, which is generally regarded among the author’s best and saddest books.

In it, Anne (played by Dakota Johnson) breaks off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis) and eventually contemplates marriage to her cousin William Elliot (Henry Golding).

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.”

Ben Bailey Smith (Getty Images)
Ben Bailey Smith (Getty Images)

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.

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