Thursday, April 4, 2013

Movie Review: Bright Star

Title: Bright Star
Author: BBC
Genre: Romance, Historical
My Rating: **
Age Group: 16+
Official Rating: PG

My Summary:
Fanny Brawne is a sharp-tongued woman of fashion, and despite the frequent and loud criticism of Mr. Brown, she isn't afraid to own it. But when Mr. Keats moves in with Mr. Brown and introduces her to the beauties of poetry, Fanny is taken off guard. She is intrigued by Keats, and by his poetry, which, quite frankly, is beyond her. So she unabashedly asks for poetry lessons, which inevitably lead the two closer together. Their relationship changes drastically, however, when Keats becomes sick.

The Good:
Fanny is self-centered and quick-tempered at the beginning of the movie, and although she doesn't completely reform, her relationship with Keats eventually softens her enough to be somewhat likable.
Keats has an idealistic but absolutely beautiful concept of romantic love. At one point, when Mr. Brown teasingly sent a letter to Fanny (during this period, sending a woman a letter was pretty much asking her to marry you), Keats, who most definitely has feelings for Fanny, emphatically tells him that he has no respect for the sacredness of love. Later on, after Keats and Fanny are engaged, Fanny offers herself to him. Keats looks at her for an instant, then turns away, stating "I have a conscience." His love is completely self-giving.

The main problem with this movie is Mr. Brown. He's a ladies' man, and although there (thankfully) isn't too much focus on this, there are a few scenes that should be mentioned. Keats' health starts to decline, and Brown tells him to "bed [Fanny]" to cure himself. Keats lets this comment slide. We see Brown flirting openly with a maid, and are later told in a (much too long) scene that the maid is "with child". We see the maid pregnant, and later with a baby, while Brown tags dutifully along. He does not seem particularly ashamed of his actions.
In a comment which Fanny meant as innocent, she asks Keats if he slept in her bed at their summer home. Keats seems taken aback by the comment until Fanny explains what she means.
Keats is actively dying, and Fanny, in utter desperation, tells him that she will give him anything. He refuses the offer.
Fanny and Keats kiss frequently. Most kisses are innocent, though one or two go on much longer than needed.
At one point, they lie down on a bed (fully clothed) and discuss the future.
Fanny wears dresses that reveal cleavage.
When Keats has not responded to one of her letters, Fanny breaks down and demands a knife so she can commit suicide. She tends to have a very emotional relationship with Keats.
Fanny utters one d**n. I believe they might have taken the Lord's name in vain a few times.
When Keats becomes sick, we see a very bloodstained cloth which has come from the sickroom.

My Opinion:
 I had been looking forward to this movie for quite some time, mainly because I am a huge fan of Keats' poetry. Unfortunately, the movie was poorly made: the characters were incredibly uninteresting (except for Keats. And Brown, because he was a grumpy Scot), Fanny was a whiner through most of the movie, and it seemed as though BBC had made the movie for people who already knew everything about Keats (they didn't explain ANY back-story on the characters). Although they did an excellent job with the cinematography, they cut the scenes at all the wrong places so that the whole story seemed choppy.
On the other hand, the romance was absolutely beautiful. Fanny almost ruined it, but the passion and selflessness of Keats made up for everything lacking in her. Plus, the character of Mr. Brown, especially in the beginning, was quite fun to puzzle out. I liked him, despite his quite obvious flaws. Also, they quote Keats extensively, which is awesome.
I did enjoy the movie just because I'm a Keats fangirl, but I don't think anyone else would like it. This was definitely not one of BBC's crowning moments.

P.S. Although my "Bad" list is quite extensive, the movie was actually relatively clean except for the Brown issues, and even those were ignorable for the most part. I recommended this movie for 16+ because I didn't think anyone younger than that would actually enjoy watching it.

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