New Zealand’s Oscar winning film director, Jane Campion who directed ‘The Piano’-one I particularly liked- has returned after a few years absence with the critically acclaimed film BRIGHT STAR. This bitter sweet screen epic combines John Keats’s letters with his romantic entanglement to the 18 year old impetuous seamstress Fanny Brawne stylishly played by Abbie Cornish. Fanny first meets Keats as her neighbour but soon opens wide the romantic doorway to his heart and subsequent betrothal in flagrant disrespect to a Victorian era evident in the practical words but not actions of Fanny’s compassionate mother.
The film is a moving feast for the eyes, heart and mind set in idyllic eastern England, but laced with humour and pathos for the penniless young Keats whose agonizing life compromises are in deference to the reality he relies on the generosity of others but particularly that of his close friend Brown whose antipathy toward Fanny adds yet another dimension of unanswered questions.
BRIGHT STAR leaves you aware that the words of one of the greatest romanticised poets were only recognised for their eloquence, exquisite beauty and romanticism after his tragic early death. His words continue to be spoken today just as they were spoken out aloud in the woods for many years afterwards by a grieving but no less inspired Fanny Brawne.
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