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Bright Star (2009)

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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 ... 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 the other. Through association with the Dilkes, the fatherless Brawne family knows Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown and the Brawne's eldest daughter, Fanny, don't like each other. She thinks him arrogant and rude; he feels that she's a pretentious flirt, knowing only how to sew (admittedly well as she makes all her own fashionable clothes), and voicing 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, but their relationship is slow to develop, in part, since Mr. Brown does whatever he can to keep the two apart. 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 little in the way of monetary ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever. 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 USA:

$189,703, 20 September 2009

Gross USA:

$4,444,637

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,350,945
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 cat's name in the film, as well as in real life, is Topper. See more »

Goofs

The large blue butterflies featured in the 'butterfly' sequence are tropical and would not have been found in Britain at that (or any other recent) time. See more »

Quotes

John Keats: Touch has a memory.
Fanny Brawne: I know it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.33 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Scotch Reel and Bonnie Highland Laddie
(1816)
Written by Thomas Wilson (as Wilson)
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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Bright Star...beautiful
9 November 2009 | by mccjemSee all my reviews

Through brilliant, stunning visuals and intelligent, witty dialogue, Jane Campion's Bright Star celebrates the rapture of passionate love. Using many of the Romantic John Keats' own words--captured for posterity in his poems and love letters to Fanny Brawne, his 'sweet Girl'--Campion has weaved together one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen.

Rich 19th-century fabrics and breathtaking English scenery make Bright Star a sensuous pleasure to experience. But these visuals merely reflect the beauty within, the soul of this film: the love affair of Miss Brawne and Mister Keats.

Brawne is passionate about and proud of her fashionable and daring needlework, as is Keats his aspiring albeit more fine-spun poetry, and both share an ardent love of life and a longing for someone with whom to experience it completely. Theirs is the inspiring true story of the rare uniting of equals--of two strong, independent, and intelligent individuals with unique talents and dreams yet deeply matching values and desires.

The emotional, intellectual, and subtly sensual affair between Brawne and Keats is captured wonderfully in Bright Star, owing in part to the portrayal and backdrop of those closest to the lovers in their own lives, such as Keats' coarse but caring friend Charles Brown and Brawne's warm mother and endearing siblings. The obtrusively vulgar Brown serves in stark contrast to the gentlemanly Keats, whose integrity and will Brown deeply admires but cannot quite live up to in his own life, while Brawne's loving family--woven seamlessly into the storyline through their presence in scenes of playfully benevolent games, strolls, and dinner-parties-- serves as foil to the equally loving yet singularly feisty Brawne. Through the meaningful and often-tender dialogue and interactions between these vivid characters, Bright Star is able to match beauty of setting with that of soul, a rare feat in a film...as it is in life.

Now Bright Star has been attacked as sentimental by the modern, cynical skeptic, and if it were the hackneyed story of a princess and a pauper mindlessly frolicking to their "fairytale" ending, his criticism might merit a modicum of respect. But Bright Star is not a fairytale in that empty sense; for the fact is Keats died at the age of 25, and he and Brawne were anything but mindless. So unhappily for the cynic, his venom is ineffectual against this film; for in Bright Star, his normally insidious strain of attack finds its antidote: reality. Bright Star is a *true story* depicting the love affair of two exceptional souls who lived a life (however brief for Keats) of happiness *in this world*. In today's angst-ridden, often gloomy atmosphere of humility and despair--where so many either consciously diffuse or unwittingly (and tragically) breathe in the modern liberal claim of man's depravity (itself merely a mutation of the ancient Christian notion of Original Sin)--the little-known Bright Star shines through in rebellion with pride and exaltation, demanding its viewers resurrect the self-esteem and aspiration they once had as children, and should never have let die as adults.

Although Bright Star is deeply uplifting and truly benevolent, one must be prepared to leave its resplendent world tinged with a real sadness. But this sadness does not--it cannot-- abide if one recalls Keats' own poetic words to Brawne (from an early love letter), which encapsulate the film's essence: passionate love for this wondrous world and one's 'Bright Star' in it...

"...I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days--three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain."


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