Thursday, March 10, 2011

REVIEW: "Bright Star" (2009)

Bright Star is the kind of film I really appreciate. It reminds me why I love the arts, why I love writing, and how I have come to respect poetry and literature more than I thought I could. It is also the kind of film that is genuinely beautiful, well-written, well-acted, and respects the period it presents. The costume design, for one thing, is fantastic. Personally, this is the kind of period piece I'd love to be (and have been) involved in. And, it's a very restrained film, even though it does have sensual/intimate moments in it (more on the level of the Song of Songs, which the story does reference). Ben Whishaw's portrayal of Keats is patient, honest, and believable, but it is Abbie Cornish's performance as Fanny Brawne that stands out. She has such a strength, look, and posture that makes her an exquisite actress. Her portrayal also has layers of tenderness, sympathy, sadness, subtle bitterness, regret, and beauty, that help us understand not only her character but also her reaction and gradual understanding of Keats' writings, poems, and character. This is a wonderful showcase for her and Whishaw, as it is for writer-director Jane Campion (who also made 1993's The Piano). A beautiful, well-restrained period piece. The poem recited at the end is Keats' own "Ode to a Nightingale".

(Also posted on my Facebook Movie Application at

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