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Persuasion is a 1995 period drama film directed by Roger Michell and based on Jane Austen's 1817 novel of the same name. In her theatrical film debut, the British actress Amanda Root stars as protagonist Anne Elliot, while Ciarán Hinds plays her romantic interest, Captain Frederick Wentworth. The film is set in 19th century England, nine years after Anne was persuaded by others to reject Wentworth's proposal of marriage. Persuasion follows the two as they become reacquainted with each other, while supporting characters threaten to interfere. The film was adapted by the writer Nick Dear, who considered the story more mature than Austen's other novels. He characterised it as one of realism and truthfulness, particularly in telling the story of two people separated and then reunited. As Austen's narrative style conveys Anne's thoughts internally, Dear and Root felt compelled to express the character's emotions using comparatively little dialogue. Persuasion was shot in chronological order, allowing the actress to portray Anne's development from being downtrodden to happy and blossoming. Originally the BBC was the sole producer of Persuasion, until it partnered with the American company WGBH Boston and the French company Millesime. This decision gave the production a larger budget and allowed it to be filmed at locations featured in the novel, including Lyme Regis and Bath. Michell believed this was Austen's most emotional and poignant novel, as well as her most autobiographical. While directing, he avoided what he felt was the polished, artificial feel of other 19th-century depictions, and discouraged his actors from wearing make-up or appearing too hygienic. Costume designer Alexandra Byrne produced clothing that appeared "lived-in", winning a BAFTA for her efforts. Persuasion was filmed during a period of popularity for Austen's works; it was one of six adaptations of her novels produced during the mid-1990s. The film originally aired on 16 April 1995, when it broadcast on the British television channel BBC Two. Sony Pictures Classics released the film in American cinemas on 27 September 1995, as Austen's increasing popularity became apparent to Hollywood. Persuasion's cinematic release attracted the attention of film critics, and it received generally positive reviews, with many praising Root's performance. Film scholars have since observed significant changes from the source material, as well as class and gender themes.
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