Waiting in line to enter a screening of “Bright Star,” I twittered “I hope to hear romantic poetry.” I also wanted to curl up with a love story. Both of my goals were met by a movie that is dripping with romance.
“Bright Star” is the classic, beautiful, period piece with lots of Oscar potential. Watch the trailer, the film is visually lush and rich:
For me, the movie brought back all the romance and giddiness of first love; I felt like a teenager again. Keats and Fanny are so in love they hardly notice anything other than each other and they practically cease to function when separated. Jane Campion captures all the drama of first love in the scene with Keats pacing in the rain outside Fanny’s house, or Keats and Fanny leaning against each side of the wall that separates them, or in the daily emotional upheaval caused by the arrival of the mail. I enjoy poetry best aloud, and Jane Campion incorporates several verses throughout the film, most appropriately, the sonnet “Bright Star:”
Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature’s patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.
The movie captured the spirit of the Romantic era artists, their dedication, love of poetry and camaraderie. Ms. Campion extensively researched Keats’ life and the film is reportedly accurate in many details. I’m not an expert on Keats or the Romantics, but I felt I left the movie with a strong sense of the movement.
Here’s the downside though, pretty much all of the action scenes are in the trailer. The movie is a bit slow, in fact, several men in the audience were flat out asleep. With each movie, I evaluate whether I should see it in the theatre or Nexflix it. Here, I slightly tilt towards seeing in the theatre because the cinematography is stunning, but the story itself can be equally enjoyed either on the large or home screen. In any format, watch ”Bright Star” quietly and relaxed allowing the sounds and sights of the Romantic period wash over you. Then go read some Keats poems to extend the experience.