Film: Bright Star
Director: Jane Campion
Starring: Ben Whishaw as John Keats
Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne
Paul Schneider as Charles Brown
Kerry Fox as Fanny's mother
Thomas Sangster as Samuel Brawne
Synopsis: The film is based on the last three years of the life of John Keats and his romantic relationship with Fanny Brawne. It is named after a sonnet written by Keats to Brawne.
Review: Perhaps one of the most moving films I have watched recently, Bright Star made me cringe, smile, laugh and teary eyed within its 119 minutes. The film is set in 1818, Hampstead and revolves around the heart-wrenching and impossible romance between John Keats, a poor, rather unpopular poet and Fanny Brawne, the eldest daughter of a widow with a talent for sewing. Fanny's younger siblings obediently follow her around in her endeavours to gain Keats' attention however her flirtatous nature does not sit well with Mr. Brown, Keat's writing associate. Soon, it becomes evident that the pair are deeply in love with each other and cannot be separated even by great distances. Inevitably, Keats becomes ill and dies, leaving Fanny in a state of distress and despair. The film ends with Fanny walking the path that she and her lover had walked many times, reciting the sonnet he had written for her: "Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art..."
Keats died at 25, believing he was a failure. Ironically, today he is recognised as one of the most influential Romantic poets and one of the most beloved of all English poets. Unfortunately, it seems that many of the most renowned composers today were only properly acknowledged after their death.
On a brighter note, did you know that Abbie Cornish, the actress who plays Fanny Brawne in Bright Star is Australian? I had no idea, her English accent is on point in the film!