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Bright Star

181 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From Academy Award® winning writer/director Jane Campion (Best Original Screenplay, The Piano, 1993) comes an extraordinary film based on the true story of undying love between renowned poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw, The International) and his spirited muse Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish, Stop-Loss). In the wilds of 19th century England, a forbidden passion draws the two lovers ever closer—even as fate conspires to tear them apart. Bright Star takes you to a world where, though life may be fleeting, great art – and great love – last forever. Let this sparkling gem of romance illuminate your heart.

Add Jane Campion's rich, sensuous, quietly thrilling Bright Star to the very short list of admirable films about writers. In this case the writer is John Keats (Ben Whishaw), the Romantic poet who died at age 25 believing himself a failure. The movie, set during his last several years, focuses on his playful friendship with and evolving love for Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), the independent-minded young woman who lived next door in Hampstead Village and was, in her own fashion, an artistic spirit. Completing an ineffably fraught constellation--not exactly a romantic triangle--is Keats's host Charles Armitage Brown (Paul Schneider), who loves, esteems, and regards Keats with both pride and envy, and engages in an unstated rivalry for Fanny. All three performances are superb, with Whishaw adding to his gallery of artist figures (the olfactorily obsessed murderer in Perfume, one of the Bob Dylans in I'm Not There), and Cornish and Schneider taking top acting honors for 2009. As in Campion's The Piano, others are party to the central story, and they have identities, personalities, and claims to intelligence and understanding that we appreciate without having it announced in dialogue. Kerry Fox (redheaded wild girl of Campion's An Angel at My Table nearly two decades ago) evokes Fanny's mother with a few brushstrokes, and Fanny's young sister and brother are watchful presences and de facto co-conspirators in the courtship. In addition, Bright Star is the rare period movie to convey--without being insistent--what it was like to be alive in another era, the nature of houses and rooms and how people occupied them, the way windows linked spaces and enlarged people's lives and experiences, how fires warmed as the milky English sunlight did not. And always there is an aliveness to place and weather, the creak of boardwalk underfoot and the wind rustling the reeds as lovers walk through a wetland. Poetry grows from such things; at least, Jane Campion's does. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

Deleted Scenes
An Inspiring Romance Featurette
Becoming Keats and Fanny Featurette
Setting the Scene Featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Abbie Cornish, Edie Martin, Claudie Blakley, Gerard Monaco, Samuel Roukin
  • Directors: Jane Campion
  • Producers: Caroline Hewitt, Mark L. Rosen, Jan Chapman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002WY65VA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,389 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bright Star" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Ellington VINE VOICE on February 2, 2010
Format: DVD
My wife, bless her soul, did something wonderful for me this past week. Despite her personal regard for this film (she fell asleep in the theater), her knowledge of my personal respect and admiration for John Keats (my favorite poet to ever walk the earth) and my feelings towards this film (one of the top five best of this past year, easy) moved her to buy this movie for me last Tuesday. She even found herself searching store after store since, for some reason, a lot of places weren't carrying it.

Alas, I've already watched this three times this past week.

Jane Campion is a marvelous director who has stunned me many times, and if you have ever wondered what a Jane Austen adaptation would look like under her sensual guidance, you have your answer in `Bright Star'. I will say this; this movie is by far one of the most sensually stimulating films I've ever seen. That isn't to say that it is an explicit film (nothing close to `The Piano') but Campion has a wonderful way of eliciting in the viewer a raw and natural emotion, that of longing and desire, and she paints such a beautifully desirous picture that we are left with baited breath.

The way Keats caresses Fanny's hand; the way she removes a key from her necklace; the way the press their bodies against a wall just to be nearer to one another. Every frame is captured in such a provocative way that we are so entranced and so, excited.

If you've seen the film, then you may recognize where the title of my review is pulled from.

The film tells of the final years of Keats' life. Keats' story is tragic because, at the young age of twenty-five he died of tuberculosis. Sadly, he considered himself a failure, yet today he is renowned as one of the (if not the) best romantic poets who ever lived.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Valerya Couto VINE VOICE on February 4, 2010
Format: DVD
I wanted to adore Bright Star, especially after reading some wonderful sounding reviews. I think my expectations where a bit high going into this and I was left feeling a bit underwhelmed and indifferent. Bright Star is a beautiful film filled with wonderful, rich colors, lovely costumes and quiet performances.

Based on actual characters, it is hard to say what was real and what was not. A few points in the film seemed embellished, mostly to do with the actual extent of the relationship between Ben Whishaw's character and Abbie Cornish's character. This being the early 1800's, I found it a tad difficult to believe their relationship was allowed certain liberties, especially with Cornish's mother constantly around and pretty informed of all that went on. Again, who is to say what really happened but it almost seemed unrealistic for that particular time period.

The performaces themselves where subtle, though effective. Ben Whishaw as John Keats was the more understated of the 2 leads and I found his character to be the more indifferent one in the relationship. Cornish as Fanny Brawne was more passionate but again, she seemed almost too 'modern' and forward for the time period. Their budding relationship starts almost suddenly and seemingly out of the blue, or at least that is how I perceived it. I found their connection genuine in some instances and bland the next.

Bright Star is a slow-moving film and a bit confusing in the beginning and may not be for everyone, even those who love Period films, as I do. While I ended up liking it, I can say that I certainly wasn't in love with it by any means. Again, I think I wanted to love it so badly and it didn't meet my expectations, sadly.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Fiorito on February 1, 2010
Format: DVD
I LOVED THIS MOVIE!!!! Yes it's quiet, yes it is methodically paced but it is so real, so haunting, so unrequited. It is a love story, that is all. A love story of passion and poetry. It doesn't try to be anything else. I have it in my dvd player and have watched it a dozen times already. I do not understand the 1 star reviews for this movie. Either they believed they were going into a romantic comedy or they are not fans of historical pieces. John Keats died at 26, alone in Rome. That should tell us from the beginning that this will not be a happy movie. But what is magnificent is that in many, many respects, it IS a happy movie. The love that is created, built slowly and surely is a real thing. Campion allows Fanny to be infinitely more sympathetic than history would suggest and Abbie Cornish feels a bit like all of us, trying to keep up with John Keats. Fanny Brawne was no poet, no scholar, indeed would have been forgotten entirely if Keats had not immortalized her with his poetry. In Bright Star, we see that she is more than aware of all of this, but that she is worthy of it, her own steadfast love makes her worthy of it. It is this, accompanied with Ben Wishaw's exquisite tenderness that make the story so powerful. It is hard not to believe the actors are mad for each other and Cornish's reaction to Keats' death is one of the most powerful I've ever seen. There is also an especially poignant scene between Keats and his dying brother Tom, so quiet and so touching, reminding us that Campion is a master. I was grateful they did not make us watch Keats waste away, grateful Campion gave him the dignity he so deserves and that we were allowed to be witness to the golden summer (or should I say "Autumn") of his life.
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