Top 10 Goofs in Persuasion (2007)

Top 10 Goofs in Persuasion (2007)

Repeated watchings of this adaptation of Persuasion over the past few weeks has been fun. If this post was a review of the film, I would have lots of good things to say, but alas, this is another “goofs” post, so I’m going to start griping right out the gate. My opening complaint is about that ridiculous race through Bath as the climactic scene of the film. What was that train wreck? It was badly conceived and so anachronistic and out of character for Anne Elliot that I felt nothing but pity for poor Sally Hawkins who had to do it. A few of the goofs come from that desperate run, but I limited it to three.

10.) Don’t look now, but are those people stalking you? The three people walking ahead of Anne Elliot and her friend, Harriet Smith, are suddenly behind them when Anne turns to begin her mad dash through Bath.

Harriet Smith dishes out what she knows about William Elliot.
Who wants to talk about William Elliot when Wentworth’s getting away?

9.) The maid of the inkpot. I’m sure this was intentional, but it is, at the same time, bizarre enough to earn it a coveted spot on the goofs list. Here’s how I envision the direction: “We’d like you to play a minor role. It’s a non-speaking part, but vitally important to the scene. Our heroine, Anne, will be busily supervising the household staff on cleaning and closing up the house. Everyone around you will be working hard. Anne will be carrying a very important checklist and marking things off with her pen as she moves about the house. At the very moment that her pen runs dry, that is where you come in. You will be standing there, conveniently holding an inkpot for her to dip the pen in. You will then hold that position. It’s very important that you not move, for a few minutes later, she will hurry past you again, and we need you to still be standing there like a statue, just holding the ink.” So much for retrenchment.

Maid of the inkpot.

8.) Is Anne out of time? Anne’s a bit distracted here, chasing down her man, but viewers with a good eye can spot the radio tower atop the hill in the background and the utility pole nestled in among the trees.

Anne is wasting no time.

7.) Who can think of modesty at a time like this? Anne is dressing for dinner at Uppercross when the hubbub over little Charles Musgrove falling from a tree is heard from outside. She is still in her undergarments, and quickly dons a housecoat before going to see what is going on. The problem is that she doesn’t make more than a cursory attempt to close it. By today’s standards, she is covered well enough, but this would be dancing on the edge of propriety in 1814 – the equivalent of a bra and slip.

Anne prepares to reposition little Charle’s dislocated shoulder.

6.) Is Kellych haunted? You know those creepy horror movies where a shadow or shape is seen moving in the background?  Well, Persuasion has one of those moments. The Crofts are alone in a room full of mirrors, speculating that it would make a good room for Frederick, when the figure of a man crosses the mirror immediately behind Mrs. Croft, meaning that he’s actually in front of her. I couldn’t get a good frame where you can make him out clearly because he’s in motion, but in this image you can see the skin tone where his face is. I’m sure it’s tough keeping the crew out of the shot when the set is full of mirrors.

The room of mirrors at Kellynch.

5.) Would Wentworth be so rude? This one bothered me from the very first time I watched this adaptation. On the carriage ride from Lyme to Uppercross, Wentworth is escorting Henrietta and Anne in the carriage. Harriet gets in and her position is on the forward-facing seat next to the window. Because persons in the rear-facing seat are more prone to motion sickness, ladies are given the forward-facing seats and the men take the rear-facing as a matter of courtesy. In this scene, we see that Harriet and Wentworth are beside one another in the forward-facing seat, which puts Anne in the rear-facing position. This is out of character for any gentleman of that era, and with Wentworth’s growing respect and concern for Anne, it seems doubly so.

The journey back to Uppercross.

4.) Next time, wear green. Keeping the crew out of the shots can be challenging. In this scene, the boom operator’s bright reddish clothing makes this goof easy to spot, in spite of his hiding behind a tree.

Anne has just overheard Louisa and Wentworth discussing her.

3.) The mystical and convienient appearance of a horse. The arrival of Anne, Harriet, and Wentworth at Uppercross unfolds quickly. A quick consultation between Anne and Wentworth to make a plan, some pounding on the front door, some brief hysterics from Mrs. Musgrove, and Harriet is taken inside. Wentworth immediatly walks back toward Anne, who is still standing near the gate. He tells her he’s going back to Lyme immediately. They speak briefly before Wentworth jumps on a black horse and he’s away. This scene plays out as a seamless string of events that covers 2 minutes and 10 seconds of screen time. Even if the first thing Wentworth said to Mr. Musgrove was “I need a fresh horse,” there is no way that a horse from the stables would have been at hand so quickly.

Anne asks Wentworth to keep her appraised of Louisa’s condition.

2.) Did Anne Elliot have access to a time turner? As the group from Uppercross meets for breakfast the morning after they’ve arrived in Lyme, Wentworth and the Innkeeper discuss a Mr. Elliot who is getting into a carriage. You can see Anne just about to sit down at the table in the background. The next moment, Anne enters the room as if for the first time.

Anne is taking her seat at the table.
Anne arrives for breakfast.

1.) An improper postman. Here we go, breaking with propriety again. Letters between an unmarried lady and a man who was not a relation, close family friend, or her betrothed were strictly taboo in this time. The rule was so entrenched in society that to ask a third party to deliver such a letter would bring shame on that person as well. It was simply not something that respectable persons did. In the novel, Wentworth puts the letter where Anne will see it and walks away with a beseeching look in his eye. He would never have enlisted Harville to deliver a letter to Anne.

Captain Harville hands Anne Elliot a letter from Captain Wentworth.

 

And that’s it, folks. Have you noticed any of these goofs? Are there others you can add to the list? Oh, and feel free to voice an opinion on the scene where Anne runs along the streets of Bath. We love to read your comments!

14 Responses to Top 10 Goofs in Persuasion (2007)

  1. I just recently watched this so I thought I would do better but I only noticed how strange it is when she runs in Bath and where her nightwear is showing. Thanks for sharing the goofs you found. They were very interesting and I learned something I didn’t know before that a gentleman would sit in the rear-facing side of the carriage.

    • I rarely notice the goofs on a single viewing – it takes repetition for me to spot them, often watching the background rather than the part of the screen you naturally focus on. I’m glad you enjoyed them. Thanks so much for commenting.

  2. Only just got time to read this wonderful post. I didn’t catch all the goofs mentioned here but now I’m determined to rewatch and pick them all out. Oh that running through Bath scene!!! I had to reach for my smelling salts when I first saw it!! That was some blunder by whoever thought it up. Surprised the ending wasn’t mentioned here. That’s a huge goof. Kellynch would be entailed so there would be no way Wentworth could have bought it for Anne, unless I’ve made a grave mistake here. I viewed this adaptation as a bit of a comedy to be honest.

    • Yeah, the running through Bath was nuts. As for Kellynch, I took it to mean that he took over the lease from Admiral Croft, since they established that the admiral was open to making way for Anne upon her marriage. You just have to hope that her father and sister don’t get it in their heads to move in with them.

  3. I love these goof posts. That running scene through Bath just slays me. No one seems shocked that she is running. Apparently gentlewomen run through Bath everyday. I don’t know how many takes they had to do but Anne literally runs into Wentworth and Charles on the street. Also, I thought Mrs. Smith was invalid or needed help getting into the bath by Nurse Rook. So… how was she able to run to Anne and tell her the story about her cousin? One more with the borrowed set furnishings. Notice the statues on the stairs at the house in Bath. They are the same statues, minus a few crystal looking pieces, from Anne’s bedroom in the 1971 version of the movie. I’ve tried to look for them else where but couldn’t find them. Thanks for these fun posts.

    • Ha! I knew I would find others of a like mind about that scene. I’m waiting to hear that someone loved it and why. You’re right of course. It’s one thing for Elizabeth Bennet to frolic a bit out in the country and another thing entirely for the daughter of a baronet to chase after a man through the streets of Bath. I actually considered including the idea of Mrs. Smith’s being out and about on the street in the list of goofs but realized that they didn’t fully portray her disability in the earlier scene. The fact that Nurse Rook was there at all implied more of a disability than Mrs. Smith’s appearance on the street showed. I guess they just contrived to use her as one of the obstacles to slow Anne down.

      Oh, I’ll have to look for those statues if I post about the 1971 version. Thanks for the heads-up!

  4. Well no! I didn’t notice any of the goofs! What a surprise ?. However that ‘running’ scene and the kiss that followed were a total turn off! So in my opinion that’s a goof!

  5. I love Persuasion – in fact, it is my favorite Austen novel. Unfortunately, the 2007 film version did not do it justice. Good catches on the goofs. The worst were Harville giving Anne the letter and that darn running through Bath scene. Anne Elliott would never have done that! No lady of her position would have done that! I hadn’t caught the coach scene that has Wentworth leaving Anne sitting backwards. Anne, being the higher-ranking woman, would have automatically been seated in the forward-facing space. One thing that has always bugged me about the 2007 film version is the kiss. It takes about 5 minutes for them to lock lips. It made me feel a little embarrassed for them.

    I am hoping a better film version (like the quality of the 1995 P&P one) will be done. And, oh! how I wish there were more Persuasion variations out there! If I could write (I tried), I would. But, I have to rely on the fabulous writers out there to do. Please, please, please – more Persuasion!!!

    • What a lovely comment. I completely agree with you on the kiss. Poor Anne had chased him down, and after she breathlessly accepts his proposal, he questions her sincerity, and makes her declare her certainty. Even then, he holds back on kissing her – practically makes her beg for it. I was more embarrassed for her than him. It was nearly degrading. It felt like he was going to punish her one last time by making her wait for her kiss. The result was that the payoff of this kiss wasn’t nearly as sweet as it would have been if he had just laid one on her the moment it was clear what she wanted.

      I agree that more Persuasion would be welcome!

      • I also agree about the kiss. It is almost cruel. He is much taller than she and he is the one that has to come down to her level and he waits to be sure this is what she wants. Once they kiss in public it is a done deal. So… he drags it out in an almost torturous fashion. Just as he asked her if she was sure… so too with the kiss. She is on her toes and has reached as far as she can and still he holds back. That would have ticked me off mightily. She should have grabbed his lapels and pulled him down. snicker I am no Regency lady.

        • I’m getting cranky just thinking about it. I’m sure the director thought it was a great way to increase the sexual tension, but it only served to make Anne, the sweetest, most sensible woman of his acquaintance, seem almost pathetic (on the heels of that run no less) and it portrays Wentworth to actually be petty instead of tortured. Ugh. Now I want to write a scene where a man does that and the woman grabs his lapels and pulls him down, as you say!

    • What excellent timing! Don’t let the goofs bug you too much, but if you would laugh heartily about the maid of the inkpot when you spot her, it would please me greatly. My husband thinks that she is probably a friend or relation of one of the higher-ups who specified that they wanted her to have a bit part.

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