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Bright Star

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United Kingdom, Australia, France · 2009
Rated PG · 1h 59m
Director Jane Campion
Starring Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw, Paul Schneider, Kerry Fox
Genre Drama, Romance

Fanny Brawne finds herself increasingly intrigued by the handsome but aloof poet John Keats, who lives next door to her family friends. After reading his poetry, she finds herself even more drawn to him. Although he agrees to teach her about poetry, Keats cannot act on his feelings for Fanny, since he has no money to support a wife.

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What are people saying?

Melanie Greenberg Profile picture for Melanie Greenberg

Bright Star adds a level of tenderness and detail often absent from period pieces. Even if the romance does not initially draw you in, the visual storytelling will. I probably think about the scene with Fanny lying in her bedroom surrounded by live butterflies once a week.

What are critics saying?


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

Ms. Campion, with her restless camera movements and off-center close-ups, films history in the present tense, and her wild vitality makes this movie romantic in every possible sense of the word.


The New Yorker by David Denby

What makes the movie extraordinary, however, is not so much the portrait of a poet as the accuracy and the detail of the period re-creation.


New York Magazine (Vulture) by David Edelstein

Young Edie Martin, with her chaotic swarm of red ringlets and deadpan dutifulness (she has few lines, but they’re goodies), is the movie’s sign of eternal spring--the butterfly atop the just-opened blossom.


The A.V. Club by Keith Phipps

It’s a studied movie that gives itself over to bursts of intensity, and between them sometimes threatens to become as spellbound by its subjects as they become with each other.


Time Out by Keith Uhlich

Writer-director Jane Campion approaches the tale with an artiste’s respectful solemnity, but it too often comes off like "Twilight" transplanted across oceans and centuries.


Entertainment Weekly by Lisa Schwarzbaum

Campion's big-sisterly encouragement of Cornish's lovely, openhearted performance -- and Whishaw's well-matched response -- results in a character instantly, intimately recognizable to anyone remembering her own first love.


Variety by Todd McCarthy

Breaking through any period-piece mustiness with piercing insight into the emotions and behavior of her characters, the writer-director examines the final years in the short life of 19th-century romantic poet John Keats through the eyes of his beloved, Fanny Brawne, played by Abbie Cornish in an outstanding performance.

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