BRIGHT STAR dir by Jane Campion

Well here goes - our first written thoughts about a recent movie we have seen!

We viewed this movie at a preview screening on Wed 25 Nov as members of the World Cinema Club.


This movie is a fictionalised account based on information gleaned from a biography about the poet John Keats.  It traces a relatively short period in Keats' life when he fell in love with a young girl who was his neighbour.

The movie seemed interminably long - it actually wasn't that long but it moved at such a slow pace that my best description of it is "ponderous"!  There is some beautiful cinematography but to me it was a little bit pretentious and was shouting to me - "hey, look at this beautiful shot/lighting/angle etc".

There were a number of problem areas for me in believing in this film - although the family of  Fanny were very poor ( her father having died when she was very young) there was no indication of how they earned their living and Fanny (a seamstress) seemed to have no problem finding the money to make elaborate and striking outfits which she paraded endlessly throughout the film.  The family also ate very well - finding a duck to cook for a special dinner for Keats.  Small points I know but they added to my inability to fully believe in the characters or care much about their fate.

The acting could best be described as adequate - except Abby Cornish as Fanny.  She managed to make the character at least likeable and captured some of her independent spirit.  Ben Wishaw who plays Keats was adequate in the role but did not make Keats shine. Paul Schneider who plays Mr Brown did a better job of portraying Keats' cynical and suspicious friend.

All in all a most disappointing film.
My rating :  6/10


Being a fan of Keats' poetry, I was looking forward to a feast of it in the film, but the sources of his inspiration are portrayed more so than the poetry itself - namely his first & only love, Fanny (aka "Bright Star") and the beautiful and bounteous English countryside.  As a period piece, the film concentrated more on costuming than the mores of behaviour - I don't believe that Fanny's mother would have allowed the young couple such a degree of unsupervised togetherness under her own roof - unconsummated togetherness too with not sign of frustration from either party.
That being said, Abby Cornish developed an interesting and mulif-faceted character as Fanny and Ben Wishaw was suitably love-lorn and intense as the young poet.  His friend & mentor, Mr Brown, was somewhat overplayed by Paul Schneider.  More interesting minor characters are Fanny's younger sister & brother who tend to be her "chaperones" during outings with Keats.

My rating : 7/10

Friday 27 Nov 2009

So far so good!

We have set up our page and decided on a name for our Blog.  Now for the hard bit - actually writing down our thoughts about recent movies we have seen.

That will be a task for tomorrow - nothing like procrastination!