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campion, cornish, keats, poetry, whishaw

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Old 16th Nov 2009, 14:05   #1
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Default Bright Star

This is Jane Campion's film about the relationship between John Keats and the seamstress Fanny Brawne. We first see Fanny (Abbie Cornish) in an astonishing hat and jacket of her own design, and it quickly becomes clear that she is independently minded and unconcerned about the opinions of others, and though her preoccupations with fashion and frippery may initially seem shallow, I for one found her evident pride in her work refreshing, given the period when the film is set.

Her first encounter with Keats (Ben Whishaw) is against the will of his friend and landlord Mr Brown (Paul Schneider) - Fanny going against Mr. Brown's will is a recurring theme, and the tension created in this triangle is sparingly but effectively portrayed through the film. Brown seems odious early on, and does not much redeem himself by the end, apart from one or two surprisingly affecting moments when we realise that human emotions do touch him after all.

Ben Wishaw's portrayal of Keats is restrained almost to an extreme ("a poet is the least poetical creature on earth") and perhaps appealed to my liking of understatement. Occasional moments when we do hear him give voice to the poetry are like musical interludes. In contrast, those occasions when he is amongst other "artistic" types, he seems to avoid notice whilst the others make themselves faintly ridiculous (though possibly the more so to our modern sensibilities).

There is judicious use of a scene-stealing cat (sorry amner!) and the portrayal of Fanny's family is very sweet and tugs at the heartstrings even of this old cynic. When some bad news is relayed to them towards the end it would take a hard heart indeed to remain unmoved.

And the frocks! I'm not sure anyone has ever worn an empire-line quite so fetchingly as Ms. Cornish. Many of the visuals are completely beautiful, including the scene with a carpet of bluebells which has been understandably used in the TV trailer. I swear when it came to that scene I could smell the scent of the bluebells myself.

Both my companions - one male, though admittedly not an especially blokey bloke (for which I am eternally grateful) and one female - were similarly favourably impressed.

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Old 9th Nov 2010, 23:53   #2
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Default Re: Bright Star

We just watched this tonight (mostly on your recommendation, ono) and were very warmly impressed. I will probably say more tomorrow.
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Old 10th Nov 2010, 9:10   #3
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Default Re: Bright Star

Ooh, glad to hear you enjoyed it, Col. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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