I am so glad that this film, Bright Star, is based on the life of poet John Keats as it gives me free license to discuss it as I please! If you are a Romantic and a lover of poetry, or prose in any form, you simply must see this film as I am sure that it will be like a long drink of water in the middle of fall's bustle and inanity. If you're like me, there is simply nothing better than a good love story and the fact that Jane Campion is at the helm here means that every scene is crisp and expertly framed, colours pop marvelously against the drab English countryside and the dialogue moves well and with all the romantic fervor there is still plenty of wit and wryness to be had.
John Keats was born in 1795 in London, England. Tragedy came early to him as his father died after falling from a horse and both his mother and brother passed away from turberculosis. His guardian strongly dissuaded him from writing poetry as a profession. Keats eventually found himself living with his friend Charles Brown who rented half of a house - the other half was occupied by Fanny Brawne, her mother and family. The two engaged in a torrid love affair that was cut short when Keats travelled to Italy to take advantage of the fairer climate as he was showing symptoms of turberculosis himself. He died in that country in 1821. He left behind such masterpieces as The Eve of St. Agnes, Endymion and my favorite, La Belle Dame Sans Merci.
What amazed me about this film was the collective effect of Campion's attention to the intense now-ness of intoxicating love - a field of bluebells, a shocking pink dress in a shaded wood, the way Fanny's linen curtains billowed out to meet her and then cast her backwards. I'm well aware that many will think this film fanciful but anyone who has ever been privy to the holiness of the heart's affections will know that there is no greater thing alive.
by John Keats
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.
Read Keats' work
Detailed information on Keats' life
The film's official website
See photo gallery in the following post