7.0/10
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113 user 223 critic

Bright Star (2009)

Trailer
2:26 | Trailer

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The three-year romance between 19th-century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne near the end of his life.

Director:

Jane Campion

Writers:

Jane Campion, Jane Campion (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 52 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Abbie Cornish ... Fanny Brawne
Ben Whishaw ... John Keats
Paul Schneider ... Mr. Brown
Kerry Fox ... Mrs. Brawne
Edie Martin ... Toots
Thomas Brodie-Sangster ... Samuel
Claudie Blakley ... Maria Dilke
Gerard Monaco ... Charles Dilke
Antonia Campbell-Hughes ... Abigail
Samuel Roukin ... Reynolds
Amanda Hale ... Reynolds Sister
Lucinda Raikes Lucinda Raikes ... Reynolds Sister
Samuel Barnett ... Mr. Severn
Jonathan Aris ... Mr. Hunt
Olly Alexander ... Tom Keats
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

First Love Burns Brightest See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, some sensuality, brief language and incidental smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Australia | France

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

9 October 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bright Star - Estrela Cintilante See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£207,881 (United Kingdom), 8 November 2009, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$189,703, 20 September 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,444,637, 10 December 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Hyde House and Estate in Hyde, Bedfordshire substituted for the Keats House in Hampstead. Jane Campion decided that the Keats House (also known as Wentworth Place) was too small and "a little bit fusty". See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 16 mins) After Fanny Brawne says "You would have it that I kill Mr. Keats with affection?" Mr. Brown says "Perhaps you will," but the audio doesn't match up with his mouth movements. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[general chatter]
Mrs. Brawne: Hello, Joy.
Dilke Maid: Hello.
Mrs. Brawne: Is all well?
Dilke Maid: Very good, thank you.
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Crazy Credits

Ben Whishaw recites Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale" over the closing credits. See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Summer Special 2009/10 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sussex Waltz, K536 No.2 (Trio)
(1788)
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as Mozart)
From the Album "Regency Ballroom English Country Dance Music from the Era of Jane Austen"
Arranged and Performed by Spare Parts, Bill Matthiesen, Liz Stell, Eric Buddington
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Needs, Needles
28 October 2009 | by tedgSee all my reviews

It seems that many viewers have coasted through this, believing it to be a simple love story, told simply. It seemed to me anything but that. This is a movie about the rhythms of poetic image from romantic love, translated to cinematic image. The poet is Keats, who likely was as imagined: melancholy, reaching for a romantic purity. Many such existed it seems, but few that achieved this in words that matter.

The story is a simple one: ordinary in many ways. Instead of romanticizing the woman, and their love, Campion does us a real service. She shows that this great love was largely a matter of accident: two primed lonely souls finding each other. The woman in this case really was not very special, except in finding deep love. The contrast between the souls of the poems, and similar pure romantic love of movies and what we have here is striking.

The shift is not from the poetry to the people. The people stay real. It is from the poetry to the cinematic presentation. Campion is able without being obvious, of slipping real romantic images to buoy this. Usually we have conventional duft, presenting some unrealistic ideal. Here we have true love in sight, surrounding ordinariness.

Our bright star is a seamstress obsessed with fashion — fashion that makes her truly seem shallow. Many of the clothes she wears are strikingly ugly in the overall assembly. But in the small — which we often see — they are composed of elements that could be items of extended meditation. That they are her extended skin, consciously designed and carefully crafted makes her an extraordinarily appealing lover.

The first seconds of this film set the world, one that is extraordinary. We see a closeup of a tiny needle being perfectly threaded. We see an enormous closeup of that needle piercing virginal white fabric. We slowly work to the situation of the woman involved. She is the narrator, the maker. This is a movie that goes in my database of "cloth" films, because the use of cloth is basic.

There is short preliminary, a short courting. It is not from Austin, where strong soulmates bond, just two ordinary souls. But when they kiss, we have one of the two sublime scenes. She lays on her bed (the location of which carries great significance). A white curtain blows seductively over her. Her similar white dress has the wind lifting it and awakening underneath. This is absolutely breathtaking.

A second sequence may seem too heavy for most. Her love goes away and she is forlorn. He writes an amazing letter, thus beginning his great period. Butterflies are mentioned. So she fills her room with butterflies. These somehow actually perform as part of the fabric-ed space, participating as if directed. Oh no! She gets a letter cutting off futures, and the butterflies die, to be swept into bins. If ever there was a romantic cinematic environment, this is it, the butter-feathered bedroom, where words feed image.

The little sister, perhaps ten and named Toots, is patterned after Tootie in "Meet Me in St Louis," redhead, precocious, and romanticized beyond all else. She is a sort of emissary into innocence, anchoring the ideals this elicits but does not exploit. Ms Campion, thank you. A movie about love that makes love. Thank you.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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