Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bright Star (2009) [PG] ****

Bright Star is a romantic drama set in England between 1818 and 1821. It tells the story of the three-year romance between poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and Frances Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), a romance that ended with Keats' untimely death from tuberculosis at age 25.

Written and directed by Jane Campion, and based partially on the love letters written between Keats and Brawne, this is an intensely moving story of unfulfilled longing and passion. Acting performances are uniformly excellent, especially Abbie Cornish who was nominated for several best actress awards. Production values are outstanding, with Janet Patterson receiving an Oscar nomination for achievement in costume design.

In addition to being an excellent period romantic drama, Bright Star offers the viewer an introduction to the poetry of John Keats. While Keats was not appreciated by the critics of his day, he's now regarded as one of the three great Romantic poets, along with Byron and Shelley. Some viewers may find the film's pacing rather slow, and the running time could have been reduced by ten minutes with no loss. Regardless, this film belongs to Abbie Cornish, and she is completely convincing as the love-struck Fanny. If you enjoyed Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennett in Pride & Prejudice, or Rachel McAdams as Allie in The Notebook, then you won't want to miss Abbie Cornish as Fanny in Bright Star. 

Labels: biography, drama, romance    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 81/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=72, viewers=72)    
Wikipedia - John Keats    
Wikipedia - Fanny Brawne

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