Bright Star

13 Jun

The last period film I watched (and my favorite) was Bright Star. Like The Young Victoria, it is a historical romance- three years in the life of the poet John Keats and the seamstress Fanny Brawne. I’m not really into poetry and although I’d heard of Keats I knew virtually nothing about his life.

I loved, loved, LOVED this movie! Similar to The Young Victoria, don’t expect anything like a biopic on Keats. Though it’s mostly historically accurate, as far as I know, it’s a romance above all else. And it is done very well. The whole movie has a very quiet feel- beautiful cinematography that uses a lot of natural light (it reminds me a lot of the 1995 Persuasion in its realistic look), exquisite costumes, and brilliant acting. Even the music, while beautiful, is quiet. There are sensual undertones throughout, but the romance, like the movie itself, is very restrained. The heroine is usually “chaperoned” by her younger siblings (her sister, Toots, is beyond adorable!), and the pair cannot marry due to poverty and then Keats’ illness. Keats’ friend and roommate, the greasy Mr. Brown, also tries to prevent their romance, but this really seems to only encourage them! The ending is tragic (Keats died of consumption at age 25) but the movie is just gorgeous.

Favorite shots and scenes

The movie is worth watching for the cinematography alone. Everything is understated and subtle, and yet left a bigger impression on me than anything on a grander scale ever has.

The Breeze Coming in from the Window

Just this shot of the breeze lifting the curtain as Fanny lies in bed is so simple and yet so effective.

Keats Lying on a Treetop

Both this shot and the one of Fanny in bed show them in peaceful bliss after they have shared their first kiss.

Hiding from Toots

Toots interrupted their little “date” and as they follow her, they kiss and cuddle in secret. Every time she turns around, they freeze. Brought a dopey smile to my face.

Finding each other through the wall

Fanny in the field of Wildflowers

Butterfly Farm

The girls have butterflies flying all around their room. Isn’t Toots cute?

The Costumes

By far my favorite thing about this movie was the costumes! It’s set in the Regency, which is always a plus (for me at least. I love the fashions from that period). The heroine, Fanny, is a seamstress and prides herself on her fashionable clothes, which she makes all herself. I loved that the clothes in this actually looked hand-stitched. Fanny’s gowns in the beginning can be a bit over-the-top (bright colors, big hats and collars) but become more subdued throughout the course of the film. Most of her shoes are really cute too, take notice! Some of Toots’ dresses use the same fabrics as Fanny’s, which I thought was a nice touch.

Bright Red Spencer

Not a fan of the huge ruffled collar, however.

Patterned Sweater

I’d wear that!

Pink Pelisse

Love all the pinks! Check out the shoes and hat. Contrast Keats’ shabbier outfit.

Pink Dress

This was the dress under the pelisse. Never seen anything like it!

Striped Spencer

This is my favorite in the whole movie! I’d love a jacket just like it.

Final Thoughts

This movie is not for everyone. If you like a lot of action and that sort of thing, you’ll probably hate it. I may get slightly upset if I hear that anyone hates the costumes, though!

My Rating: 9/10

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4 Responses to “Bright Star”

  1. Julie June 14, 2010 at 9:26 AM #

    This sounds wonderful!

    But my Netflix queue already has more than 300 DVDs and more than 200 instant movies. When will I ever get to watch all of them????????? ARGH!

    • marspeach June 14, 2010 at 10:05 AM #

      Wow, and I thought I had a long list of stuff to watch…

  2. Karenu April 27, 2011 at 12:56 PM #

    Hi Marspeach, This is Karenu from Juliep’s blog (timetraveler from C19). Anyway, she said you had a review of Bright Star and it looks as if you enjoyed as much as I did! I loved this movie and DVR’d it so I can watch it over and over. It definitely is a feast for the senses. I never knew anything about Keats beyond the fact that he was a poet. Anyway, the costumes add to the enjoyment and “feel” of the movie for sure. I just loved the colors Fanny wore, especially the teal green outfit. The lighting was spectacular, as was the script, acting, etc. The crying scene brings me to tears every time; I’ve never seen a more realistic demonstration of grief than that.

    • marspeach April 27, 2011 at 1:33 PM #

      I’m glad you liked it too! This is a really understated (and definitely underrated) movie. I’m not a poetry fan and although I’d heard of Keats, like you, I didn’t know anything about him. This film definitely exceeded my expectations.

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