Two new films are on Netflix as of July 8th, and both are recommended! Read on for quick takes on each of Netflix's "The Sea Beast" and "Persuasion."
"The Sea Beast"
With little promotion or fanfare, Netflix has created one of the more beautifully simple animated films of 2022. "The Sea Beast" may not be for the very young (even though the monsters are somewhat cute and cuddly, there is a lot of danger and too-scary sequences that may leave little ones with some deep-sea nightmares), but it is an exciting, swash-buckling adventure full of life lessons and good meaning.
Featuring voice talent from Karl Urban, Dan Stevens, Zaris-Angel Hator and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, "The Sea Beast" is written and directed by Disney alum, Chris Williams (who co-directed "Moana" and who also directed "Big Hero 6" and "Bolt.")
Dakota Johnson has grown so much as an actor in recent years, and is also making some delightful, surprising choices in the roles she is taking on. In "Persuasion," she plays Anne Elliott, a young woman of high-standing who once was persuaded out of marrying a man, Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis), who was not up to her family's standards. This man of course goes on to become a wealthy statesman, but is it too late for Anne to find true love?
"Persuasion" was the last novel from the legendary Jane Austen, and while the movie surely LOOKS like a Jane Austen story (with the lush period costumes, set design, etc.), it is modernized by its stylish, sometimes off-putting dialogue and overall approach. Anne, for example, breaks the fourth-wall more than a few times, talking directly to the audience. Much of the language in the film is from 2022, not 1817.
Johnson won me over, a stunning turn to take, since she was completely unlikable in her last role, in the Apple TV+ film, Cha Cha Real Smooth. Her charm carries the movie, and a cast of game actors and lively characters rounds out this pretty familiar romance. Not having read the book it is based on, I have a feeling that Jane Austen purists may not appreciate the updates, but for those unaware, it allows for an "in" to the story, that period films often want but can never quite find so easily.
"Persuasion" is directed by Carrie Cracknell ("A Doll's House").
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