Adapted from what is arguably Jane Austen's most mature and subtlest novel, Persuasion is somewhat more nuanced and restrained than the more frequently adapted Emma and Pride and Prejudice. The protagonist, Anne (Amanda Root), is, by the conventions of society, considered an old maid when she remains unmarried at 27. However, a second chance arrives when her former love, Captain Wentworth (Ciaran Hinds), returns from the Napoleonic Wars. The pair, who hardly speak throughout, are surrounded by the usual assortment of family members, friends, acquaintances, and distant relations, many of them what pass for stock characters in Austen novels. There's the social-climbing parent, the dour upper aristocrat, the scatterbrained younger relatives, and, of course, the apparently suitable suitor who turns out to be all wrong. Of course, Austen's protagonists are never dumb, but Anne, being somewhat older, is also a good deal wiser, and the characters around her accordingly take on greater dimension and subtlety. Naturally, this being an Austen story, all ends well, but the path is somewhat less straightforward than in other films adapted from her work.
~ Genevieve Williams, All Movie Guide