Reel Shorts | Bright Star

2 10 2009

After a six-year absense, Oscar-winning screenwriter Jane Campion returns to the screen with a heart-warming romance between John Keats and Fanny Brawne in the touching period-drama, “Bright Star.”

Set in the early 19th century, independent-thinker Fanny (the sensational Abbie Cornish) has an eye for fashion and follows the rigid rules and customs of polite society. The primary caretaker of her younger brother and sister, Fanny is a dreamer whose personality would better suited in a far progressive society and time.  But one day after a chance encounter with the talented but struggling author John Keats (Ben Whishaw), she initially seeks out his work and gives the author a scathing yet honest critique which endears him to his new neighbor.

While Fanny longs to get closer to Keats, her path is blocked by his writing companion, benefactor and best friend, the boorish Charles Armitage Brown (Paul Schneider) who see Fanny as distraction and inconvience preventing Keats from focusing on his work. The closer Fanny gets to Keats the more agitated Brown becomes. Like a simmering pot on a stove, the romance between the poet and his muse continues to grow.

When Keats and Brown hit the road to work, Brawne creates an indoor butterfly wonderland inspired by the work of her love. Fanny loves hard and takes every perceived slight of his attention to passionate and dramatic effect. Longing to be with the talented poet, fate deals her an unfortunate hand and the muse behind the famous poem “Bright Star” must find the strength within to survive the rigors of her life.

Several years ago, Cornish sparkled as a heroin addict alongside the late Heath Ledger in “Candy” and she gives an Oscar-worthy performance as a loving strong-willed woman who loves against all reason. Cornish is the best reason to see this film radiating charm in nearly every scene.  Looking absolutely ravishing in an array of sparkling costumes and dazzling hats, you can’t take your eyes off of this Australian beauty.

As Keats, Whishaw is overshadowed by his dazzling co-star, almost regulated to the background even in a co-starring role. But as the irritating friend, Schneider gives a solid performance in a love triangle for the heart of Keats. Campion’s direction is steady and flows well given the constraits of trying to keep the audience’s attention with a period love-story set in 1800’s London.

Beautifully photographed and cast, the film is filled with plenty of poignant and tender expressions of love. One memorable scene has the fleeting lovers separated by a wall placing their wanting hands to the surface with longing of a child reaching for the surface of the moon. Campion has delivered her best film since 1993’s “The Piano.” While Keats contribution was fleeting, Campion has delivered the goods preserving Keats’ story for all of eternity. While “Bright Star” focuses on the famous poet, the one that burns bright is for the lovely Cornish!

Grade: A




2 responses

23 10 2009

Nice post you got here. It would be great to read a bit more concerning that topic.

6 11 2009

this is one of the movies i really wanted to see and missed. i’m looking forward to seeing it when it comes out on DVD.

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