Bright Star

Download Membership Form

United Kingdom / Australia
Date: Thursday, January 21, 2010 7:00pm and 9:00pm
Director: Jane Campion
Abbie Cornish, Ben Whisaw, Paul Schneider, Kerry Fox
Runtime: 119  Minutes
Language: English
Rating: PG

“It’s immediately refreshing in its unabashedly flow of feeling, but it also wields a cumulative punch.”
---Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun
“Intimate as a whisper, immediate as a blush, and universal as first love, the film positively palpitates with the sensual and the spiritual.”
--- Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer

“A literate, lyrical love story in the age of Hollywood crass. I must be dreaming.”
--- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Nominations: Golden Palme, Cannes Film Festival

Nominations: Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, British Independent Film Awards
Bright Star is an exquisitely rendered, emotional love story that marries heartbreaking passion with formidable filmmaking restraint.

The love story in question involves John Keats, perhaps the greatest of England's 19th century Romantics, and Fanny Brawne, literally the girl next door, daughter of Keats’ landlady. They met in 1818, when Keats was 23 and Brawne 18, a little more than two years before his dreadful death from tuberculosis. The intensity of their fervent connection brought forth some of Keats' greatest work, including the poem that gives the film its title.

Campion understands that the Keats-Brawne love affair was such an emotional juggernaut that telling it in a restrained way would only increase its power. Equal to the task are Britain’s Ben Whishaw and especially Australia's Abbie Cornish, a standout as the headstrong Brawne.
A skilled dressmaker, Brawne is presented on screen as a smart, confident young woman who is fierce and unapologetic about the art of her craft. It is Brawne’s self-possession that runs afoul of Charles Brown (Paul Schneider, The Assassination of Jesse James and TV’s Parks and Recreation) Keats’ tart-tongued and calculating contemporary and benefactor who finds his relationship with Keats threatened by Brawne’s presence.

The potential romance makes no one happy, including Brawne's mother (Kerry Fox), who worries that the penniless Keats cannot marry without funds.
Campion makes the daily routine of distant lives vivid and convincing, and every scene is shot impeccably, thanks to the work of cinematographer Greig Fraser.

It's a tribute to all concerned that this film holds us from first to last even though history has told us exactly how it will end.

As he was leaving for Italy from which he was never to return, Keats wrote to Brown, "The thought of leaving Miss Brawne is beyond every thing horrible -- the sense of darkness coming over me -- I eternally see her figure eternally vanishing." It takes this exceptional film to do justice to that stunning an image of romantic devotion and loss.

Return to the 2010 Winter Schedule