Bright Star DVD
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Directed by Jane Campion
Produced in 2009
Main Language - English
Jane Campion's acclaimed biopic about the love between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Peter Wild says it is the best thing Campion has made since The Piano.
Inspired by Andrew Motion’s epic biography of Keats, and taking its title from a poem that (despite a certain amount of critical dispute) was probably inspired by Fanny Brawne, Jane Campion’s focussed biopic (centring on the last 18 months or so of Keats’ life) is an unadulterated triumph, quite easily the best thing she has done since The Piano and, arguably, surpassing all earlier triumphs.
Despite towering over Keats (who stood apparently 5ft high) and lacking a distinctively Keatsian look (Keats himself was a red head), Ben Whishaw acquits himself well as the poet, managing to convey the playful party spirit (we see Whishaw duelling with celery at a gathering), the gentle, easily wounded poet (upon being asked how well his book is doing, he quickly and quietly disseminates the number of good reviews from the number of bad) and, of course, the lover who has been handed down to us through the centuries thanks to the collected letters of Fanny Brawne.
But if Bright Star can be said to have a centre, that centre is very much Fanny Brawne herself (played by Abbie Cornish in a role that must propel her to Keira Knightley sized stardom): we follow Fanny with her mother and her sisters as they share rooms with Keats in his friend Brown’s house, as Brawne and Keats draw closer and then, society being what it is, as Keats illness takes hold, sadly, as various people interpose themselves between the two lovers.
The film – to paraphrase Keats’ poem The Eve of St Agnes – ‘unclasps her warmed jewels one by one’: the performances of the two central characters, the contemporary and refreshing way in which the children speak (Brawne’s sister is sent to buy Keats’ collection of poems from a bookseller because she wants to know ‘if he’s an idiot’), the subtly nuanced delivery of Kerry Fox as Fanny’s mother, in addition to the feel Campion obviously has for the source material all combine in a film that is at once historical and immediate. Both visually and dramatically arresting, Bright Star is as highly recommended as a film can be.
Peter Wild on 27th January 2010
Author of 99 reviews
Acclaimed drama written and directed by the Oscar-winning Jane Campion about the relationship between 19th century poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and fashion student Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish). Their romance begins slowly but soon the young couple's feelings intensify as Fanny helps John care for his sick younger brother and John then agrees to teach Fanny about poetry. Fanny's mother (Kerry Fox) and John's best friend, Charles, both unhappy with the relationship for their own reasons, are unable to stop them growing closer to each other. Tragedy, however, lurks on the horizon.
Publisher: 20th Century Fox
Length: 114 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Cat No: P926101000
Format: DVD Colour
Subtitles: English HOH
- Working with Jane documentary
- Behind the scenes featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Photo gallery
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