Bright Star

Bright Star, the tale of John Keats' and Fanny Brawne's doomed romance, unfolds over several seasons in Hempstead, England in 1819 - autumn, Christmas, lovers' springtime and summer, another autumn of mortality, finally the desolate winter of death. Its soundtrack makes ample use of Keats' pregnant poesy (in a bout of facile alliteration, I almost stupidly wrote "pregnant prose"!), but the film takes its emotional and narrative cues from Brawne's more innocent sense of first love. This makes for  a simpler, gentler, and perhaps less compelling film than one focused on the great artist. Not that Brawne was dull or simple - her acute sense of fashion is well-reflected in the film's delicate artfulness (particularly the Oscar-nominated costume design), while her obvious intelligence is displayed in the movie's dialogue, particularly her own early exchanges. Yet she is still in many ways a girl (emphasis on youth rather than gender), a very young woman in the throes of first love. The movie reflects this too and is imbued with an often pleasing naivitee which at times runs the risk of seeming prosaic.

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