Autumn Topping | Nov 8, 2017 | 2
Film Review: Bright Star – A Deeply Affecting Love Story
Bright Star Film Review
Bright Star is a film by Jane Campion (director of The Piano) about the love story between Fanny Brawne and John Keats. The passionate letters that passed between them during his last few years are actually available still in several publications and biographies. It is a quiet, thoughtful and deeply affecting love story.
Fanny Brawne is a young woman with a fondness for wit and a talent for designing her own fashion. She meets a young, melancholy poet through their shared acquaintance, Mr. Brown. The man is John Keats. They strike up a friendship which quickly develops into love before anyone can stop it. Fanny becomes his muse. They cannot marry as Keats is penniless and those close to them attempt to keep them apart for their own good. Yet the young couple will not be denied and fall deeply in love. However, Keats becomes ill after suffering prolonged exposure to the elements. It may even be the same affliction that killed his brother.
Bright Star is a small, quiet film but is no less moving for that fact. Indeed, it is perhaps due to this that it feels more real than many other period dramas. The pace is quite slow and meditative which wasn’t a problem for me, but some may find it unappealing because of this. Slow does not, in this case, mean boring. Every moment is imbued with importance and there is a simple intensity of feeling to the entire production.
Bright Star is also quite beautiful. It was shot almost entirely on a single location outside of London. Most of the story takes place in a house deep in the countryside, surrounded by lush greenery and bluebell bedecked forest. The costumes are eye-catching, especially Fanny’s, which are unusual creations that she has made herself. Great attention is paid to the color palette used in each individual scene which makes it all very visually appealing.
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The love story is beautiful too and deeply poignant. Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish bring raw, emotional performances to the film that definitely enhance it. History has already sealed the fate of the lovers but you still desperately want them to find the happiness they so long for. It is an innocent, sweet old-fashioned love story that is still surprisingly free of cliche.
Bright Star is a tender, emotional journey about first love and heartbreak. It is also a celebration of John Keats who was, in my opinion, the greatest of the Romantic poets.
Content Note: There is no sex or nudity. A bloody shirt is seen briefly from a man with consumption. There is a single instance of profanity.
Photo Credit:Apparition / Warner Bros
“The stuff that dreams are made of.”
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.
I have loved none but you.”