Monday, October 19, 2009

Bright Star

Bright Star, directed by Jane Campion (The Piano), is the story of Romantic poet John Keats and his lover and muse, Fanny Braune. It's gotten great reviews, so we went to see it on a rainy, cold Saturday afternoon.

The film is a little too long and a little too slow, but its major fault lies in the premise: penniless Keats meets barely comfortable Braune, and, despite the fact that he cannot provide for her financially, they fall in love and she becomes his muse, inspiring his poetry. All well and good, but the film tells the audience that this is happening but doesn't show it. Keats is an accomplished writer before he meets Braune, and he's still a writer (but no more financially successful) after he falls in love with Braune, but Campion never successfully demonstrates the power of Fanny's ability to act as Keat's muse.

Fanny has a younger brother and sister who appear frequently throughout the film, but who, between them, probably have six lines. It's a little weird to have these characters hanging around but not speaking.

Of course, the film is beautifully photographed and a delight to watch, and there's a wonderful and affecting scene in adjoining bedrooms depicting the incredible longing that the two characters share for one another. But in the end, the film really wasn't very engaging.

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