Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bright Star

Bright Star has had lots of publicity, being Jane Campion's new movie.In case you haven't read all about it already, its the love story of John Keats and Fanny Brawne and its like Pride and Prejudice with racing stripes. Set about 20 years later than P&P, its got the empress line frocks and the sense of people who don't work for a living having a fairly pleasant existence while trying not to infringe social convention. Like P&P, the hero has a pesky friend who doesn't like the heroine - Keats' friend Brown behaves to Fanny like Bingley's friend Darcy behaves to Jane. Unlike the characters in P&P, Keats and Fanny have pastimes which actually keep them busy - he writes and she designs and makes clothes.

In the background of the pleasant existence of both stories are some less than pleasant truths - with P&P it was that if the Bennett girls didn't get married they were going to be out of a home when their Father died. And with Bright Star the unpleasant truth is that Keats can't afford to marry Fanny and he has an incurable disease as well. The movie Star is imbued with a sense of longing and unfulfilled passion -which sounds all rather depressing, but on the whole this isn't a depressing movie.

Set in Hampstead, which was a village north of London in 1819, the Heath is a major feature and the natural beauty of the landscape is one of the film's strengths. There are some gorgeous scenes in fields of bluebells and daffodils and some lovely treescapes. Pleasant picnics and walks in the woods feature and Keats and Fanny manage to evade their junior chaperones and indulge in some serious snogging from time to time so they aren't in anguish constantly. There are other pleasant diversions, like Fanny's younger brother and sister starting a butterfly farm in her bedroom, and the family cat is just a charmer.

The gloom and doom quotient increases gradually and the unhappy ending is inevitable but if you can live without a happy ending this film is well worth watching.

Anne's rating 4/5

1 comment:

  1. Really looking forward to Campion's Bright Star when it hits theaters this fall. It's great to see her back in the director's chair, and the visuals of the film look stunning. If you haven't seen the official poster, you can find it here: