josh's Review of Persuasion
This film is so flawless, it's hard to think of a place where it misses a single beat. I'm a great fan of the Merchant/Ivory cannon, and believe them to be unbeatable in their perfection of the Ideal. Here we are given a masterful lesson by Roger Michell in the perfectly real. And it's OK to like both. I do not agree at all with the premise that romance and long dresses make any movie a chick flick, which is a fairly modern invention - both in grammar and a particular vein of shallow popular movie making. This is not that, and I cannot watch a true chick flick - they're not even good movies, none of them will be named here, you know which ones they are.
Most of the well known period pieces made in the last 20 years are some of the very best movies we have. I think them not so much an acquired taste, as an appreciation that must be learned. Like many of the finer things and varied seasons of your life, it took someone showing you before you knew what you were looking at, or looking for. It is that way here. Once you see the truth they have to tell, then decide you don't prefer them - at least you've validated your own choice through actual experience. But to dismiss them out of hand from ignorance, or prejudice, or misplaced masculinity makes such a view less relevant. And I think more importantly, causes you to miss out on something you might find quite beautiful, had you seen it.
For the uninitiated, let me take a moment to explain. It is the inner beauty of good people, the proper behavior and right conduct toward others as a societal norm - just because they are others like yourself, not because you wanted anything from them. Real Gentleman and True Ladies. This all happened for the first time in history on this scale and at this level within the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Though this is the period right before the Victorian, they are directly connected and that's what is on display here. It will feed your spirit if you let it.
Good films come from good stories, and stories get their strength from the Power of Words. Like the ones I'm using here. Films and stories are important only because Words are important. So do film makers, film goers, writers, and people - like you. All with something to say, when given a chance - will say it.
Thus ends my attempt at persuasion, for those of you who might give great period pieces a view. Let their good words minister, let their morality speak. In an age where people have become products, and talk is cheap. You'll get a little bit of help from the Light that is in them. A spoonful at a time is all we are given, because a spoonful is all we can handle. Pictures, and words and stories of the way people used to be. The goodness in films like Persuasion -- is an example of how good film making ought to be.