Bright Star (2009)
It ought to come like leaves to a tree, or it better not come at all.
— John Keats
Bright Star has been getting considerable Oscar buzz. It is to be expected. It’s a gorgeous, beautifully shot piece. Gorgeous costumes. I am familiar with the work of Jane Campion with her Oscar-winning picture, The Piano. I thought that was a marvelous film. This movie on the other hand is an empty vessel put up on screen.
This movie retells the final three years of John Keats’ life. Keats played by Ben Whinshaw is a struggling poet that doesn’t have a cent to his name. He rooms with his best friend, Charles Armitage Brown (Paul Schneider). They share the summer rental with another family, the Brawnes.
The eldest daughter, Fanny (Abbie Cornish) is a free-spirited woman that loves to dress in her own creations. She is not limited to the conventions of 19th century Victorian society. Fanny is taken by the words of Keats even though the rest of the world wouldn’t know until after his death.
John and Fanny in love with each other, but their different status threaten to tear them apart. The only times they could be with each other is frolicking in the meadows, their correspondence when John gets sick or their chaste kissing sessions in private.
As I stated earlier, this is a beatufiul film. I wouldn’t expect less in a Campion film, but something about the romance between these star-crossed lovers rang false. There was no longing for each other, no heartache. Some scenes were supposed to convey that, but it was forced.
It felt empty. I didn’t care about the lovers. Do they cossumate their union? Will they get married?
This was supposed to be a tragic romance. The only tears that were coming out of my eyes were those from boredom. I wondered when is Keats going to die. (It’s not a spoiler. It’s history.) I felt the same way like in Titanic. That says a lot. Also, I believe that Paul Schneider was horribly miscast on the Scot Brown. Every time, he was on screen I wanted to jump into the screen and punch him in his padded gut.
Judgment: A disappointing, hollow romance that should have been forgotten in the course of history.
Posted on October 17, 2009, in 2009, Academy Award Nominee, Biopic, Drama and tagged Abbie Cornish, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Ben Whishaw, Edie Martin, Jane Campion, Kerry Fox, Paul Schneider, Thomas Sangster. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.