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Bright Star Review

John Keats came to realize his talent for poetry while he was training for a career in medicine. Bright Star tells of the shinning journey from obscurity to love to early death amidst the marble walls of Italy.

Keats met, fell in love with and became engaged to pert and sassy Fanny Brawne while living with his friend and mentor Charles Brown. Fanny was their neighbor. She and Keats have a rocky and challenging initial meeting, but his words of beauty soon win her respect, admiration and love. ďA thing of beauty is a joy for ever / Its loveliness increases; it will never / Pass..., ďA Thing of BeautyĒ (Endymion), John Keats (1817).

John Keats is one of Englandís most renowned Romantic poets and Bright Star makes an impeccable job of telling the story of his few years as a young poet and ardent admirer of his beloved Fanny. Keats had a few short years because he, like his mother and brother, died of the dread disease tuberculosis. In the last months before his death, Fanny and he were separated because Keats had a false hope that the warm climes of Italy would cure him.

The tale of the anguish caused to each by this separation will vividly come to light under the splendor of Bright Star. Written by Jane Campion, Bright Star is a movie of a great British love story, made as only lovers of revered historic British literary figures can make films. The settings are romantically idyllic; the music is as hauntingly poetic as Keatsís verse; the costumes are authentic to the era; the actors are brilliant. Abbie Cornish and Ben Wishaw make the elegant speech of a by-gone style and grace quench like falling waters on parched modern ears.

Abbie Cornish plays Fanny Brawne, Keatsís beloved. Cornish has had one other staring role and that opposite Heath Ledger (1979 Ė 2008) in Candy (Neil Armfield, 2006). She also had a role in A Good Year starring Russell Crowe (Ridley Scott, 2006) and in Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur, 2007).

Ben Wishaw plays poet John Keats. Wishaw's first starring role was in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Tom Tykwer, 2006). He then starred in Iím Not There with Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale (Todd Haynes, 2007). He also had a role in Clive Owenís movie The International (Tom Twyker, 2009).

Director Jane Campion's Bright Star is sublime, telling an exquisite love story about a poet who was part of the era that ushered in modern ideas in poetry. You may not like reading Edmund Spenser, who was Keatsís inspiration, but you may very well love reading John Keats.

Do see this film. It is glorious. It is family fare at its finest. It is also rated PG for sensuality (not sexuality), so there may be moments when moms, dads, aunts, uncle, and all loving individuals, may want to cover young eyes or ears.

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