Writer/Dir: Jane Campion (The Piano, In the Cut)
Cast: Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw, Paul Schneider, Kerry Fox, Edie Martin, Thomas Sangste
Reason to see: Always curious to see Jane Campion's work, plus recently was blown away by Ben Whishaw's performance in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
I'd never think I would be the target audience for this film, a historically set biopic of the relationship of Fanny Brawne and the poet John Keats (played by Abbie Cornish & Ben Whishaw, respectively). I've gotten pretty close to swearing off historically set romances, in fact I did just that last year, but I can't help give certain things a chance and thank goodness I did because if I hadn't I would have missed the beauty of Bright Star.
The film unfolds beautifully chronicling the lives of Fanny Brawne and John Keats, and their relationship as it builds and this is shown with an uncanny knack for harmonizing unwanted but required distance with a very powerhouse of restrained emotions. The intensity between Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw is phenomenal, and to see shown with such sensitivity was to see an amazing creative force at work. The depth of the performances is vast, conveying their wants, desires as well have their inner conflicts bubble up to the surface concerning needs and the reality of their living situations. I found it absolutely astonishing that the film can be gentle, touching, but also very honest and about elements of conflict and what is and what is not easy.
Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw truly light up the screen with their chemistry and the film is completely centred on them, where all other character you feel so peripheral even though everyone is fantastic. I found it wild to see Paul Schneider as Keat's friend Mr Brown, not particularly the nicest of fellow, but one who certainly chimes in to give a voice of the time period.
It feels like it's a crime that it only received one Oscar nomination, although the nod to costumes is well deserved it also easily would have been on my list for Jane Campion (directing), and both Abbie Cornish & Ben Whishaw for their lead acting roles. It's a absolutely fantastic film in every way.
DVD Extras: Deleted Scenes, Setting the Scene Featurette, Becoming Keats and Fanny Featurette, An Inspiring Romance Featurette
Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I'll watch it repeatedly
I'd recommend it to fans of who like any of the following: drama, romance or historical films
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© Shannon Ridler, 2010