If there is one thing Dakota Johnson is known for, it is unleashing absolute chaos everywhere she goes, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show and her own kitchen which at one point contained a bowl of limes, which she later revealed she is allergic to. So it makes sense that Netflix’s adaptation of the beloved Jane Austen novel Persuasion is the most chaotic Jane Austen adaptation ever made, which includes Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Wishbone the dog as Mr. Darcy on Wishbone, and a 2003 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice set in the modern-day Mormon community.
In Netflix’s Persuasion, directed by Carrie Cracknell with a screenplay by Ron Bass and Alice Victoria Winslow, Dakota Johnson at her absolute most Dakota Johnson plays Anne Elliot, a woman who is reunited with her former fiance, Captain Wentworth, after eight years. Anne was in love and wanted to marry Captain Wentworth but was encouraged by her family to end the engagement because he was poor. The film is a beautiful nightmare, a period piece that looks pleasant but sounds like nails on a chalkboard with dialogue that sounds like it was created by a Twitter meme generator. It feels more inspired by Jane Austen TikTok than Jane Austen. It’s bad but ultimately an entertaining if occasionally cringe-worthy piece of cinema that showcases the best of what Johnson has to offer.
Here’s why you should watch Dakota Johnson in Persuasion on Netflix. You’ve been warned: pretty much every reason is Dakota Jonhson.
Dakota Johnson is ready for the year 2022
In Persuasion, Johnson has side swept, perfectly conditioned bangs and a British accent inspired by watching Love, Actually once every holiday season. She looks like she just got her makeup done at a Brooklyn Sephora, with freshly manicured eyebrows at a Benefit brow studio. This is, of course, a movie, and movie stars have, from the very early days of Hollywood, been done up in a way that is most appealing to them and modern beauty standards, but the lengths Persuasion goes to not make Johnson and other characters feel of the period is so absurd that it almost feels like a troll.
Dakota Johnson in her Jim Halpert era
For better or worse, Persuasion breaks the fourth wall, with Johnson looking at the camera at many moments as if the year is 2006 and this is the set of NBC’s hit workplace comedy The Office and Sakota Johnson is not Anne Elliot, Jane Austen heroine, but Jim Halpert, a paper salesman with a crush on the secretary, a nerdy nemesis, and a tendency to side eye cameras at opportune moments.
The dialogue sounds like it was written by a Twitter meme bot or a TikTok teen (perhaps both)
Did they use the word playlist in the early 19th century? None of us were around then, so who’s to say definitely whether or not a woman in 1800s England would describe a collection of music sheets as a playlist. I don’t recall using the word playlist until the invention of Spotify in 2011, though. Before that, we called them “burned CDs.”
Exes is suddenly a word that exists within the Austen canon
You almost have to respect the shameless audacity of the Persuasion screenplay. Defying its own tone and setting, the screenplay sprinkles (read: pouring) modern language including abbreviations (exes) and meme formats (he’s a 10) into a film that also contains dialogue ripped word for word from Austen’s novel. This film probably would have been better in every way if it was just set in the present day, but they refused.
Behold, more Dakota Johnson staring at the camera
Dakota Johnson has become an icon for many things: her love of limes, her lime allergy, and her bangs. But her most iconic moment as a celebrity unfolded for all the world to see on November 27, 2019, when she appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and called Ellen Degeneres a liar. Johnson did not care about calling out the daytime host, who antaogonized the actor on air for not inviting her to her birthday party even though she was invited. “That’s not the truth, Ellen” made Johnson an instant icon and spawned one of the internet’s only good memes. In Persuasion, Jonhson gives the camera the Ellen death stare energy, in a way that almost redeems the film’s glaring flaws, and suggests that she hates this movie as much as everyone else does.
Dakota Johnson speaking Italian
In a scene that contains the sentence, “how do I prioritize self-care with everyone around me constantly bidding for my attention,” Johnson speaks Italian while rolling her eyes. Acting has never been better than this, folks. I am no expert on Italian accents, but Johnson’s Italian sounds better than her meandering British accent.
Hot and boring men
In Persuasion, protagonist Anne Elliot is faced with the ultimate conundrum: a weird somewhat reluctant love triangle between two hot men! The characters in Austen’s novel are appealing, with many layers that make Anne’s situation compelling and dramatic. But in this film which dumbs down Austen’s darkest novel to fleeting rom-com, Dakota Johnson has to pretend to be torn between two extremely hot men (Henry Golding and Cosmo Jarvis) who also happen to be extremely boring. It’s painful to watch but Johnson, sadly, plays it naturally.
Essentially, you should watch Persuasion because of Dakota Johnson
You are guaranteed to have a bad time watching Persuasion but the film, which is meant to play in the background while you do laundry or reorganize your closet or while you fan yourself during the heat wave we are currently experiencing, is a great showcase for Dakota Johnson, the one true king of not giving a sh*t.