Bright Star, directed by Jane Campion and released in 2009, chronicles the three-year love of poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Keats is heralded as one of the greatest of the Romantic poets, and died an untimely death at the age of 25 in 1821. I absolutely loved this film and highly recommend it to Keats fans, those who like period films, and anyone who loves romance.
5 Reasons to Watch
1. Visually breathtaking
This film as absolutely beautiful. From the costumes to the lighting to the shots (my movie-making vocabulary is not that great), it was truly gorgeous.
2. Old-school Romance
Set in a time before the often confusing ritual we call dating today, Keats more so courts Brawne than anything else, and it is enough to make any woman swoon. The pair recite poetry to one another, Keats writes Brawne poetry, they take long walks in the countryside, write sweet letters to one another, and exchange locks of hair. Their courtship is incredibly romantic.
3. Brings Keats to Life
I’ve studied Keats in school and read his poetry, but it is truly a magical thing to watch an author or poet whose work you are familiar with come alive on the screen. I already knew that Keats died at 25 before watching this film, and this biographical information was paired with several works I’ve studied with the intention of making a greater impact. While it did give some of his poems more poignancy, watching Keats on the screen (albeit just a depiction of him that although I’m sure mirrored him did not capture Keats totally) made the realization of how young he was when he died even more tragic and his poetry now has greater resonance for me.
4. Its Depiction of True, All-Consuming Love
Without giving away any of the plot that will spoil the film for someone who wants to watch it, the story of the love between Brawne and Keats is beautiful. In spite of all the obstacles that stood in their way, the pair never denied their love for one another and it is so clearly and breathtakingly portrayed in the film.
It’s pretty much common knowledge that Keats died at a young age, so I don’t think I’m giving anything away by telling you that this film will make you cry. This may make some people not want to watch, but for me saying a film can make me cry is a high compliment. To become that engaged with a story, with people who aren’t part of my life, to the point that I am emotionally involved speaks highly of the film as a whole.
If anyone reading this has seen Bright Star, let me know what you think. And if you haven’t seen it yet, again, I highly recommend that you do so.