Sunday, 3 April 2011

Movie Review; Bright Star 2009

Film: Bright Star (2009)

'A thing of beauty is a joy forever'

“Bright Star”, directed by Acadamy Award winner Jane Campion (‘The Piano’) and starring Abbie Cornish ('Elizabeth: The Golden Age') and Ben Whishaw ('Brideshead Revisited') is a movie based on the life of the Poet, John Keats. The film is set in London, 1818 and follows the beautiful yet tragic love story between the famous English poet, Keats and the feisty and stylish Fanny Brawne.
As a teenager I was captivated by Keats work, his poems seem to echo words from deep within his soul and each line I read I felt in some way, transported into his world. When I first heard that a movie based on his life was in development I was a little sceptical. I wasn’t sure how it would affect me after watching it. Would I be able to read his poetry in the same way, would it still captivate me? Or would it ruin how I perceived Keats to be?
When I finally saw the trailer, I was pleasantly surprised- actually more than that, I was desperate to see it. Unfortunately the film was not playing in any theatres near me. I would have to wait the extra months until it was released on DVD. 3 months later the theatres had all stopped playing the film and I waiting rather impatiently for the DVD release until my mother found a small clipping in the paper, an advertisement for “A special one –time screening of: Bright Star” at our local theatre. I could have cried I was so happy!
The movie was in many ways much better than I could have hoped. Many people have told me that they think the beginning is a little slow, so please if you’re going to watch it, don’t judge it by the first part, stick it out because it gets better. The Cinematography is possibly the best I have seen and I think the scenery and colours compliment all that Keats wrote about in his poems. The costumes in this film are also gorgeous.
Ben Whishaw was wonderful as Keats, he was Keats. In the scenes where you hear the voice over of him reading the poem I felt his voice captured the tone and emotion that was needed for the character. However Abbey Cornish absolutely shined as Fanny, I felt everything she said, did and felt, she was simply stunning especially in the last few scenes of the film. 
This movie is one of my favourites so there is not much that I can say I didn’t like about it however I found myself wishing to know more about Keats’ struggle in writing the poems, his writing blocks, how he developed his poems. I would also have liked to have heard more of his poems read throughout the course of the movie.
If you don’t want to watch a movie that is sad and will most likely make you cry. I suggest you don’t watch this. I cried so much (but then again I cried during ‘Bambi’ and ‘The Lion King’).  Otherwise just take some tissues :)



Miss Laurie said...

Thank you for your review, it helped me quite a bit. I've been really interested in this film but have hesitated because it looks beautiful but I was afraid it was just a sappy historically incorrect flick. It's good to hear that the acting is good and that it's also based closely on Keats' life. Is there any sexual content or language?
Thanks again for your review!

~Miss Laurie
Old-Fashioned Charm

Tristans_Isolde said...

Thank you for reading it!

The language in the film is quite clean, I don't remember hearing anything shocking. And I would definatly remembered if I had because I very much dislike bad language.

In regards to sexual content there are no 'scenes' or like in some movies, there were no scenes which make you infer that something of that nature has taken place. however there is a conversation between Keats and Fanny Brawne where she exclaims she would do anything for him and refuses her because he knows its the wrong thing to do. Its kind of hard to explain, I hope that makes sense. If it doesnt or you want to know more just let me know.

God Bless

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Finally I have watched Bright Star! I remember having read your review back in April and being very interested in this film. I watched it tonight and I needed ever so many tissues!

I was a little skeptical at first of Fanny and Keats' true affection, although I am a romantic at heart I have a hard time watching whirlwind romances where the couple focus so much on each other that they want to die if their love is not returned (like Romeo & Juliet or Wuthering Heights, or Marianne Dashwood's ideal). Their love is so poetic, love for them was almost painful, but I got so caught up in what they were thinking and feeling that I had to keep watching!
The first moment I cried is when they are saying good-bye and Toots tells Keats she loves him, and then when Brown tells Fanny that he's failed Keats. And then of course when Fanny "can't breath" it's all so heartbreaking but beautiful at the same time!

I found some of the costumes (especially Fanny's) to be quite distracting and a bit silly but the scenery and cinematography were exquisite! Abbie and Ben carried the roles incredibly well, Ben especially was just so amazing! I also appreciate that although they mentioned physical intimacy a few times that John Keats was such an honorable man in that respect.

I'm not much of a poetry reader but I shall have to read more of Keats' poems. I also enjoyed reading up on the history of these characters.

Thank you for reviewing this film and for suggesting it. I'm very glad I did watch it because it is such a beautiful piece, I'm not sure I'll rush to see it again very soon because it was also incredibly sad in many ways.

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever..."