Domestic Bliss

Since Anne's crowning moment is difficult to pinpoint, Michell knows that the ending can't help but seem a bit implausible--especially after his movie has so thoroughly detailed the factors that ought to have prevented it from happening. Significantly, the director sets his conclusion amid a frivolous street carnival in Bath, using it to point out the almost surreal magic of Austen's final chapter. Here, as elsewhere, the art of Persuasion comes through its faith that wild possibility can exist even within the most rigid of conventions--such as, for instance, the costume-drama genre.

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