Movie Review: Bright Star

Eric and I went to see the BBC film, Bright Star, last week. The film outlines the torrid romance and tragic (and untimely) end to the life of the great poet, John Keats.

Now, I’m a total sucker for period films (big surprise), especially when they are done well. Of course, my opinion of “well done” seems to differ from many others. For instance, one of my favorite Jane Austen adaptations is the Frances O’Conner version of Mansfield Park – I think it’s just brilliant. But many do not. So, keep that in mind as you read on…

This movie moves at a true 19th-century pace…aka, it’s slow. Not that it’s boring. But there’s a great deal of silence; a lot of observing the characters as they wool-gather. While it might be reflective of the time period itself, I’m guessing this is part of the reason it does not have “universal” appeal…and by universal I mean, it has very limited engagements at a limited number of theaters in a limited number of cities.

While Keats and Fannie were brilliantly acted, I do have to say that Paul Schneider as Mr. Brown made Eric and I both crack up every time he was on screen. We love him in Parks & Recreation; did we buy him as a 19th Century Scottish rogue with homosexual tendencies? Not so much. However, he may have been the most memorable part of the movie for us – we continue to impersonate his performance almost a week later, just for laughs! An impression is an impression, I suppose, whether good or bad.

Fannie’s performance, however, was quite wonderful. She brought a rawness to the role that you rarely get in a glossy, Hollywood film, and I was brought to a state of sobbing by her in one of the film’s final scenes.

In conclusion…

The screenplay: great. Costumes: wonderful and a far cry from the disaster that was Becoming Jane. Music: well-suited to the movie, though the “men’s glee” stuff did make us giggle. Do I recommend it? Definitely to those who have an interest in the time period, and especially to those who write in the time period. The setting alone is inspiration.

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10 thoughts on “Movie Review: Bright Star

  1. I’ve been dying to see this movie. I love LOVE Jane Campion (the Piano is my favourite movie).

    It’s in limited theatres in Toronto too.

  2. Come back and let me know what you thought of it once you see it, Tiffany. I’d love to get your take on it! I’ve never seen The Piano…I suppose I should put it in my Netflix queue.

  3. Lisbeth Eng says:

    Hi Jerrica,
    I saw an ad for this movie in the subway but didn’t know what it was about. It looked very sensual and I guessed a period piece from the costumes. I had no idea it was about Keats. Now I’m intrigued and may go to see it (or at least keep it in mind to add to my Netflix list).
    I’m also very curious to see the performance you found so amusing. (Amusingly bad, I assume!)
    Lis

  4. Lis, it really is a beautiful film – you should definitely see it, whether in the theater (I think it’s only at Lincoln Center now) or on DVD. And yes, the amusingly bad performance is…amusing. LOL!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Heather Boyd says:

    The perils of living in another country – I can’t find a single session for this movie in the next month. Or beyond. I wonder if it will get released here. Some dont. *sigh*

  6. Kwana says:

    Thanks for the review. I really want to see this movie.

  7. Aw, Heather! I hope it makes it to you at some point. But it will be on DVD soon enough if it doesn’t.

    Thanks for stopping by, Kwana!

  8. Sarah Tormey says:

    Thanks for the great review! I’ll be sure to check it out once it is on DVD:)

  9. Donna Hatch says:

    I know very little about John Keats so this would be a good to learn more about him. Also, since I write Regencies, I’m always looking for a good period movie. Thanks for the recommendation.

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