Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

"Bright Star"

Sunday, Oct. 3rd, we caught a matinee of the new movie, "Bright Star,"
based upon the life of the Romantic poet, John Keats. Or, more
accurately, based on the last three years or so of his life.

The screenplay, by director Jane Campion, shows us the story from the
viewpoint of Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), Keats' neighbor, who becomes
attracted to, and eventually falls in love with the withdrawn poet,
played with low-key dignity by Ben Wishaw. The romance is a difficult
one; marriage is pretty much out of the question. Fanny is poor herself,
and Keats' only hope of prosperity lay in his poetry, which did not
enjoy success while he lived. (It may be hard for us to picture that
such poems as "The Eve of St. Agnes," "Ode on a Grecian Urn," and "La
Belle Dame Sans Merci," should have met with such savage criticism, but
the Romantic movement was highly controversial in its time--.)
Furthermore, Keats' friend and supporter, Charles Armitage Brown (Paul
Schneider) sees Fanny as a distraction from Keats' work and tries to act
as a gatekeeper between them.

Since most people who know anything at all about Keats know that he died
at age 25 of the same "consumption" that claimed his mother and brother,
we know the story isn't going to end happily, but the fictionalized
version of the doomed romance seems both realistic and satisfying. Very
nice performances by the main couple, and very well supported by the
rest of the cast. (Edie Martin, in her first picture as Fanny's young
sister, Margaret, a.k.a. "Toots," threatens to steal scenes she's in
just because she is so darned cute, but Campion's direction deals with
it. Of course, Campion, who gave us "The Piano", has good experience at
getting the best from child actors.)

Costumes and settings are interesting and well done. (Fanny's supposedly
self-done costume designs are fun--.)

Low-keyed but engrossing and literate movie, very fine if the subject
matter interests you at all.
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded