It's 1818 in Hampstead Village on the outskirts of London. Poet Charles Brown lives in one half of a house, the Dilkes family who live in the other half. Through their association with the Dilkes, the fatherless Brawne family know Mr. Brown. The Brawne's eldest daughter, Fanny Brawne, and Mr. Brown don't like each other. She thinks he's arrogant and rude, and he feels that she is pretentious, knowing only how to sew (admittedly well as she makes all her own fashionable clothes), flirt and give opinions on subjects about which she knows nothing. Insecure struggling poet John Keats comes to live with his friend, Mr. Brown. Miss Brawne and Mr. Keats have a mutual attraction to each other, a relationship which however is slow to develop in part since Mr. Brown does whatever he can to keep the two apart. But other obstacles face the couple, including their eventual overwhelming passion for each other clouding their view of what the other does, Mr. Keats' struggling career which offers him ... Written by
Each scene, every word uttered by the characters was so beautifully and often wittily crafted that I couldn't help but wish I lived in such a lush world, full of idealism and love of literature, not to mention people who cared about one another with such kindness and unabashed concern. Many of the scenes evoked the sixteenth century Dutch masters, whom Jane Campion may have used to set an authentic tone for her masterpiece. John Keats, the most intensely romantic of the Romantic poets (although Shelley and Lord Byron did their best) could not have received a fairer treatment, plus he was superbly acted by Ben Whislaw; I fell in love with the entire cast. This film lives up to its potential, and if you know anything about the life of Keats, you realize that it is a Titanic sort of plot, because the ship must go down. Yet my sadness was only that I have to live in the current world so dominated by name brands and nonsense rather than the fine stitchery and wit of Fanny Brawne. Drag your husband, significant other and everyone you know to see this film!! I've seen it twice!!
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