Sunday, March 14, 2010

Jane Campion: Bright Star

The latest movie from Jane Campion, the Oscar-winning screenwriter and director of The Piano, has created another similarly dour period piece with moments of terrific acting, but not a particularly interesting love story that has all the complexity of its hero's Wikipedia page. John Keats is a penniless poet who falls in love with an emerging fashionista Fanny Brawne who cannot considering marrying such a poor person, but wants to learn from him about poetry. Campion assumes everyone watching has mind-reading capabilities as she spends long scenes just letting us look at the characters looking at each other. There's a terrific scene when Keats' roommate, Mr. Brown, sends Fanny a valentine as an insulting joke, and proves that Fanny has no skills at anything but flirting and sewing. I found it hard to believe the love story that ensues. Many movies that describe an artist and his muse often rely on the fact that the woman is as in love with the art as with the man. This is not true, though Fanny seems to appreciate parts of Keats' poetry, she constantly talks about how she isn't an expert in poetry. The movie fails to give another reason for their love affair, though they do make it seem extremely tragic that it never develops as Keats dies at 25 of tuberculosis. Overall, I wasn't impressed with Bright Star. Almost Famous makes the love story and struggles of artists more believeable and interesting and Pride and Prejudice does a better job with a period piece. 2 of 5 stars/lambs

1 comment:

Reel Whore said...

I really liked Bright Star. I did think it was a bit languid, but the performances, costumes and settings had me engrossed.

What did you think of Paul Schneider and those pants?